My name is David McKee I was born and raised in eastern Oklahoma, I earned my BFA from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater where I primarily studied painting, drawing, mixed media, and art history. I studied painting with Marty Avrett, a former student of Richard Diebenkorn, and I studied painting and drawing with Dean Blood, a former student of Adolph Gottlieb. I lived in Los Angeles for a few years, I then moved to upstate New York. There was a lapse in my work as a painter for a few years due to a personal tragedy, I started taking photographs, and I worked in graphic design, and advertising. My wife and son and I then moved to Albuquerque. A few years ago I returned to painting, my muse, the thing that I’m most passionate about was there waiting for my return. Since returning to painting I have shown in numerous galleries in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and the Denver area.
My work is continually evolving. At one time, I used oil paint, roofing tar, encaustic, and liquid enamel to create my works. I have since started using acrylic, spray paint, art crayons, cold wax, and torn sections of photographs to create my paintings – mixed media collage.
Combining elements of torn photographs and painting in a mixed media collage creates something that is new and unique. I am a painter, and I am a photographer. I’m a painter with a camera. The process that led me to this point of creating these works was organic. I don’t want to be a painter on the one hand and a photographer on the other; I just want to be an artist. So, I wondered what would happen if…I incorporate torn sections of photographs into my paintings.
My first step is to select an image. I enlarge the photographic image in Photoshop to the same size as my canvas, I then grid the image in Photoshop and print out a few select pieces of the photograph. Often, within Photoshop, I will make color adjustments, or other enhancements, to the selected portions. The next step is to grid the canvas and then make a basic drawing with ebony pencil, noting where the printed pieces will be placed on the painting surface. I begin painting on the canvas focusing on composition, values, and color. I tear out portions of the printed photographs and affix them to the canvas and, in combination with painting, I begin to construct the image while allowing myself enough room for those “ah-ha” moments that I believe are so important to have when painting.
The process that leads me to this way of working was organic and natural for me. I take my paintings constructed with photographic elements and push boundaries and ask - what is painting?
My ‘9 Nasty Women’ series grew out of a phrase I overheard Trump use during the elections where he remarked about Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton “those nasty women” … I started thinking about who else Trump would consider to be a nasty woman. So, I began to identify women who have given their leadership, courage, love and care, creativity and art to make this a better world. I began to create mixed media collage paintings, each one is 36”x36”, and all are framed and ready to show. The ‘9 Nasty Women’ include – Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Woman in a Burka (Target Me), Maya Angelou, Ellen DeGeneres, Girl with A Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa, the Japanese artist Kusama, and Mother Teresa.
I earned my BFA from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma.