It all began as a way for one artist to support another, says L.A.-based freelance artist Mike Mitchell of the “I’m With Coco” image he created.
“I wanted to try to spread it around town to get a movement behind it, a support growing,” says Mitchell, 27, who also organized the fan rally at Universal City on Monday. “I finished the design and sent it off on Twitter, and I woke up the next day and it had started. It already had wheels and it just blew up from there.”
At first, Mitchell had no intention of selling posters and shirts off his portrait, which he earlier had described as a cross between a presidential campaign poster and WWII propaganda art. “I held off because I had not heard from Conan,” Mitchell explains. “But I was constantly getting requests from people to buy the image, and companies were making shirts basically ripping off my design.”
“I finally got the go-ahead from Conan,” he continues, “and started selling stuff because there is such a demand for it.”
Mitchell, who recently quit a job and has been freelancing, has now thrown himself into “I’m With Coco” full-time, not just to support O’Brien but to support charity. A dollar of every order at the online “I’m With Coco” shop goes toward Planting Peace, which is helping relief efforts in Haiti.
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Mitchell will meet with O’Brien this week and will be New York on Jan. 28 at a Comix NY comedy benefit for Planting Peace and Partners in Health. “I will bring some merchandise to help raise money,” he says. “This whole thing has been so cool.”