When a youngster presses his nose against the display case and gasps in amazement, Mitch Griess knows he’s accomplished his goal—modeling an oil drilling rig site that intrigues the imagination and documents the details for posterity.
Mitch shares the story of the North Dakota oil industry with his dioramas in such detail that the displays have been made a part of history—as museum exhibits—and are being used for training at technical colleges.
The first diorama Mitch ever created is on permanent display at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck, N.D. Another 1/48 scale oil drilling and workover rig site diorama is displayed at the Pioneer Museum in Watford City, N.D. He has also built models which are so exact they are being used for training at technical colleges and by companies in the oil industry.
Mitch’s attention to details and artistic talent, coupled with his own work experience in the oil industry, helped him create the dioramas and models.
“I’ve always been blessed with artistic talent, but I had a bigger yearning to work outside,” he says.
While attending high school in Sheridan, Wyo., he airbrushed art onto vehicles and was encouraged to pursue an art career by a teacher. But he also worked for a water drilling company during high school.
“I loved it. I loved the aspect of drilling, so when I got out of high school, I went into the oil fields right away,” he describes.
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by Luann Dart