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Barry Mcgee – From Graff to Gallery


It is no secret that the birth of graffiti gave new life to the world of art and urban expressionism. It opened up new possibilities of creative display, using the walls as your canvas and the streets as your audience. Barry Mcgee was at the heart of the San Francisco graffiti scene. A lesser known graff scene but one with equal amounts of individuality and style, this is exactly where Barry honed is artistry with a chisel tip pen and a spray can.


The urban canvas was the perfect breeding ground for expression and allowed people like Mcgee to try out a wide variety of graffiti styles. He has experimented with many aliases and has really explored the use of characters and scale as an impact weapon on the general public. He has gone from the street to the gallery and his style has just gradually been refined. he always enjoyed marking his territory, not in a senseless act of bravado but in a stylistic, composed manor.

I think seeing how his work transforms from the outside to his gallery exhibitions shows just how intuitive he is to his surroundings. He still likes to push the boundaries of space, perspective and form. Some of his installations are like 3D optical illusions leaping into the audiences space and converting mundane and everyday into vibrance and freshness. He likes to paint various detailed characters each with a very unique look on old whisky bottles, reclaimed picture frames and bits of crusty old wood.



Most recently he has been exploring the possibilities of pattern and text both infused with a wide pallet of bright glossy colours. There are still traces of his graffiti and character based work but he is also showing now his depth as an artist and his well developed eye for composition.

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2016 by in Art, Film, Surfing, Travel.
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