Conor Mccreedy's newest exhibit "African Ocean" opened Thursday night at The Charles Bank Gallery in New York. "African Ocean" is a series of paintings swathed in blue, inspired by Mccreedy's birthplace of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mccreedy, 25, had his first exhibit when he was 23 at the David Brown Fine Art Gallery in Johannesburg. His second, "Outliers," premiered at the The National Arts Club in New York in 2010.
Though Mccreedy now lives predominately in New York City, he splits his time between the two continents. It is evident in his art that his inspiration comes from both, the carnal energy of two drastically different places converging in one cohesive series. The shades of blue, fluid motion, African imagery and New York fashion pay tribute to his homes.
The Huffington Post sat down with McCreedy to talk about the series, growing up in Africa and his growth as an artist.
Tell me about your upcoming exhibit, "African Ocean."
I will be showing 20 pieces ranging in size from 3' x 2' Up to the largest piece which is 18' long. Some of the artworks have been created on the finest Belgian and French linen primed with rabbit skin glue. I have also created artwork on old giant windows with glass and chains still intact, which I obtained from abandoned Soho lofts, other pieces have been painted on wooden boards.
How did growing up in South Africa contribute to your artistic style, and this specific exhibit?
They say if you are born in Africa, Africa never leaves your blood! I have spent inspiring times in the African bush where I have been at one with nature and have experienced the freedom of these vast untamed lands. I have walked with grown male lions and felt their powerful energy. I have been humbled by their sheer majestic roar as they speak to me like the ocean crashing against the rocks but at the same time there is an aura of calmness around them. This has contributed immensely to my artistic style. In contrast I have walked the wild and beautiful coast line of Southern Africa and viewed where the two mighty oceans, the Atlantic and Indian meet at Cape Point. The "African Oceans" series has been inspired by my personal archive of explosive, emotional and haunting imagery.
What is your message or goal with "African Ocean?"
The raw power and mysterious void of the ocean is my inspiration and message. The Equaliser of mankind! The oceans unfinished lines betray linear movement, interrupted but never ending as waves breaking on the shore. The blue pigment I use in "African Ocean" conveys a sense of ambiguity. It is a unique substance out of which almost elemental water emerges as I combine it with more rich pigment, acrylic mixer and thickener. It is both endless and finite, 'how I see the ocean'.
How is "African Ocean" different from your previous works? How have you grown as an artist through this series?
This creative combustion has driven me to go beyond portraiture and to explore new worlds of neo-expressionism and abstraction.
The piece "TOYOTA KIDS, HELLO CONOR" is the only in the series to incorporates photography; why did you choose to use photography on just this piece?
This particular photograph is one of a series that was taken on my travels through Africa. I have used it in this exhibition to give an example from my photographic series which combines my photography with my blue pigments.
Flip through Conor Mccreedy's "African Ocean" below. The exhibit runs through April 25.