Artist – MO MCGEE




Fountain Valley, CA

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“oh …. so you do animals”

yes! animals have always been my ‘thing’. i have thousands of photographs from long before i became an artist and started taking reference photos. i have always been drawn to the animal kingdoms outside my little corner of the world.   a long long time ago a friend/mentor called me a ‘forever student‘ and with this it is only natural that as i explore as an artist that i also end up exploring the animal kingdom.

i entered school as a sculpture student but after a semester of foundation studies i ended up going into the discipline of illustration. i love to draw and still had so much to learn about the art world. throughout my bfa and mfa studies classical fine art training prevailed … plein air and figurative art (human anatomy). but as for the animal world i was left to my own devices … applying all my figurative observation skills to the animal world.

having entered art school with my liberal arts out of the way i was able to focus on artistic endeavors. most of my electives were in printmaking … a few were in digital art. in illustration you are given an idea and then you develop it. printmaking is the first time i begun to explore the ‘whys’ behind my art and it also helped me develop a love of texture and letting go. though you plan your approach to a plate sometimes it just doesn’t turn out as expected especially once in the acid bath. a different path then may be taken or extra steps to get to where you planned to go. this stays with me in every process i work. then when you add the element of me … mo … the one who loves to approach things differently and experiment … the variables vastly increase. this along with my love of creating random textures are also a reflection of life itself.

printmaking also opened my eyes to why i do animals. animals are a world beyond my own and a part of the natural world … my way of reaching beyond myself. but my subjects are usually captured in a state that shows their grace or adds a human quality of openness and friendship so in a way i use them to create an emotion and the way i like to see the world.

being one who loves to draw along with the tonal qualities it creates the printmaking process is one of the highlights of my artistic endeavors.   i have taken the ballpoint pen as my tool of choice for illustration and it has also found it’s way to the canvas. charcoal is at the core of most of my ‘paintings’. i still would love to come up with another name for my finished works other than paintings. ‘drawing’ is definitely more of the process in which they are created.

interspersed you will find subjects other than animals which usually reflect something going on in my life at the time.   as jim dine said every work an artist creates is a self portrait …. totally 100% agree. i feel my artistic processes/ my journey … the good and bad … are a very big part of my artistic voice.

a year after achieving my mfa at the academy of art in san francisco my masters project sold. alphabet kingdom, is an animal alphabet book written by my daughter which hit the shelves in 2009. while finishing the illustrations i started walking up the street to a printmaking studio then figure workshops before revisiting painting.

in 2011 i started showing my work for the first time. in 2014 i had my first solo show at artbeat on main street in vista, ca. i am still creating, showing and teaching in southern california. oh and since i am sharing via the written word i should share my grade school visual fascination with e. e. cummings’ use of lower case letters. above all else i hope you enjoy my work … have fun … and feel inspired.

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