Friday, April 16, 2010

my hand wil always be imperfect because it's human

I just watched an art:21 episode that featured Margaret Killgallen and Barry McGee and I highly recommend it to any of you out there interested in folk- inspired illustrations and graffiti.

Margaret Killgallen was a San Francisco based illustration artist who was part of the very influential Mission School movement in the 90's. I first heard about her and Barry McGee in a documentary called Beautiful Losers which I encourage you all to check out.

It took me a while to warm up to her work but after I heard her talk about it, I appreciate how rich and how alive with narrative it is.

"And in my own work, I do everything by hand. I don't project or use anything mechanical, because even though I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand, my hand will always be imperfect because it's human."

Barry Mcgee was her partner for many years, before her untimely death in 2001 (due to breast cancer.) He was another artist to come out of the Mission School movement, who occasionally goes by the graffiti name Twister. A lot of his art work comes from his pessimistic view of San Francisco culture which he believes to be rampant with addictions and hollow commercialism. He makes a lot of installations with these weird zombie mannequins doing graffiti on the walls.

The art:21 interview showed a lot of delicious establishing shots of their studio space packed with collected found objects and images painted directly on the walls. There were also a lot of nice scenes of them painting on non- art related objects like box tops and narrowly getting caught doing graffiti on trains.

The graffiti of Matokie Slaughter and Twister (Margaret and Barry)

I think it must be so wonderful to have a partner who's also an artist. Though I mostly prefer to do studio work alone, every now and again it seems like it would be nice to share that personal space with someone, or to have someone around to snap photos of your graffiti work before it gets demolished.

Watch both documentaries and tell me what you think!

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