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Wood cut, pop art, oil paint, roy lichtenstein inspired, comic, pop

Artist Profile

Artist Profile

Mitch McGee

The influences for McGee's own artwork came from the style of Pop Art legend, Roy Lichtenstein. According to McGee, "Lichtenstein with a Red Bow was the first piece that started me down this rabbit hole".

Roy Lichtenstein took comic strips and re-positioned them as lithography. "In an almost tongue-in-cheek fashion I wondered how I could take one of his pieces and recreate it in another medium. The easy answer for me was wood. I grew up working with it and, combined with my graphic design background, it left me with a new medium and expression that I think really works". From that start, Houston artist, McGee began to create his own style and establish his unique voice.

Today, his creativity exists in that space between painting and sculpture. In his Birch series, McGee uses pieces of wood, each illustrated, hand cut and stained or painted to create dimensional pieces. Each painting is filled with thick layers and subtle shadows. There is a warmth created by the imperfection of the birch and its grain that creates an emotional connection. Each painting is a labor of love, taking 40 to 50 hours or more to complete.

His artwork has been exhibited throughout Texas since 2001 and in New York with Elisa Contemporary Art since 2012. His work is in public and private collections throughout the world. Mitch McGee’s artwork was featured in the March 2013 issue of Dwell Magazine, in W Magazine in October, 2013, and a solo exhibit at 1st Dibs in NYC in December 2013.

Written by Lisa Cooper

The Self-Portrait

What are the top 3 songs on your current playlist?

Skipping past the kids songs, the top 3 on my phone are:

  • '40 Day Dream' by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • 'Oceans' by Hillsong United
  • 'Loves Is A Word I Never Throw Around' by Robert Earl Keen

My music is all over the place, and I’m always listening while I work.

How would you describe the mood in your studio?
Since dusty isn’t a mood, I am going to go with enthralled and determined. I get lost in the studio (in a good way).  

What is your favorite comfort food?
Mexican and I’m not biased. From a breakfast taco with carne guisada to cheese enchiladas, I love it all.

What time of day do you do your best work?
Probably mornings, but that could just as well mean 1am.

What is your favorite gallery?
This is a tough one, but I will have to say Jonathan LeVine Gallery (now Projects). I have always been drawn to the artists and work he brings to his gallery. It has always been on my bucket list to show in his gallery.

Favorite city?
Has to be New York City. Every visit leaves me inspired and rejuvenated to work.

What book is currently on your nightstand?
Scary Close by Donald Miller

Biggest pet peeve?
Waking up in the morning and realizing we are out of coffee.

Favorite word?
Abide. It has been a moto I have taken on as of late. I tend to lack discipline in the holding still department.

Why does, or should, Art matter?
Where do you start? Art is inspiring, persuasive, healing, emotional and story telling. Art is a gift both for the artist creating and for the viewer experiencing the work. Art matters because it can stir emotions that might cause you to think and move to action, or just find pleasure and escape. Both are equally important.


Pop Art

Pop Art references images from modern popular culture, mass media and advertising (think of Andy Warhol's 'Campbell Soup Cans'). The movement was started in the mid-50's in Britain and was soon embraced by American artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha and James Rosenquist. The movement aimed to blur the lines between "high" art and "low" art. Pop Art continues to be one of the most recognizable styles of modern art.

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