Graeme McKim is a cool cat who makes very hip art. Enjoy his portfolio.
I’ve always been loved to draw, but as a boy I really had no artistic intentions –it was merely a means to an end, a way of creating fantasy worlds usually full of monsters and spaceships in which to have adventures. I’d throw them away as soon as I’d finished, embarrassed by my creations.
Despite this, my drawing abilities were noted at school and a career as an artist began when other kids wanted to buy my work. I didn’t intend to be an artist, I wanted be a scientist – but alas, it meant I had to do math.
I ended up studying graphic design and illustration at Underdale College in south Australia. I received a good grounding in art and design history and my influences broadened. My taste in art tended to be towards the early to mid twentieth century –with painters like Picasso, Miro, Klee and movements like cubism and abstract expressionism.
I also loved the mid century commercial art – from colourful, voluptuous advertising and magazine illustration to the angular, jazzy cartoon art and design which was influenced by the aforementioned artists [Picasso,Miro, Klee] such as the typographer Saul Bass and the illustrators Jim Flora and Mary Blair.
The subject matter of my paintings was also inspired by the mid-century pop culture that was beamed into my lounge room via TV re-runs. Classic sixties sitcoms like Dobie Gillis, sci-fi, shows like Lost in Space, Thunderbird, and The Twilight Zone. The camp classic Batman, 60’s beach party movies, b-grade sci fi and horror, film noir and Saturday afternoon staples Elvis and Jerry Lewis films also sparked my aesthetic sensibilities.
I was also involved from my youth with various retro youth culture movements from the mod revival to rockabilly and the lounge music and tiki scene. That has influenced much of my subject matter, and its no surprise my work has found favour with mods’n’ rockers, beatnik hot rodders, hipsters, hepcats and kool kittens from Japan to Mexico and LA to Las Vegas.
My painting is an attempt to combine high art with the influences from so called lowbrow culture. Like many artists of my generation, I was left cold by the mainstream art world and the thin gruel that is served up in the guise of minimal concept art. I prefer to offer what I hope is a visual feast, if not, at least a little eye candy.
And I still get to draw monsters and spaceships.