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Art Watch : Geoff McFetridge

Geoff McFetridge is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across nay discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

McFetridge plays with perspective in these graphic works. By playing with repetition and negation, he gives us a unique visual language that can be identified as his own. Stradling the line between fine-artist and a commercial artist, for me McFetridge is a success at both. The bodies, scenarios and the unfinished story lines he creates beg us to fill in the spaces

Born in 1971 in Calgary, Alberta, this Canadian artist and designer is currently based in California. McFetridge was schooled at the Alberta College of Art and the California Institute of the Arts.

There is a comfort in repetition and the soothing lines in the works that he creates and Geoff’s artistic graphic images in fine lines and bold colors, playing with repetition, do just that. Moreover, he toys with the perspective of the eye, and simplicity. This is perhaps where his success lies. Because behind a lot of meticulous work – what he puts forward is a visually simple image. Geoff’s works offer the viewer an opportunity to play with a puzzle for a moment. A puzzle that doesn’t have one simple answer. Geoff’s style has often imitated, adapted—but never equale. Because what he has created is a interesting blend of the abstract and detailed. The unique imagery used in both his personal and commercial work and commissions, are highly respected.

Why Geoff McFetridge?

It is rare to find an artist who has bridged the two peaks of art and commercial design successfully. In his case, its simple – that his attitude toward work, life, art, and making is all the same. He approaches day to day life and his work, with the attitude that everything is important, everything is process. His creations – painting, animation, design, branding, drawing—are always imbued with a language. He seeks not to teach us, but to draw out of us.

Geoff McFetridge won public acclaim when he was still a student. Winning awards from the Art Directors Club and International Design Magazine for his thesis project Chinatown.

He has been one of the few designers or artists who has been able to present such a varied portfolio. McFetridge’s work is tied together. And whatever he turns his pen or brush to doesn’t seem to matter. As it is always created with integrity, style, and purpose. No matter how diverse his projects, they can always be recognized as one of his, immediately. ‘It’s almost as if McFetridge’s portfolio is like a bunch of different types of clothing hanging out to dry in the sunshine, every piece tied together by the same piece of string’. Was what was once reported describing his style by an art writer.

McFetridge was art director for the acclaimed underground Beastie Boys magazine Grand Royal for two years. More recently, this graphic artist has started the design studio Champion Graphics, which has produced projects for numerous clients ranging from Nike, Pepsi, Stussy, Burton Snowboards, Girl Skateboards, and Patagonia.

Since 1998, McFetridge has exhibited his paintings and drawings at a multitude of galleries all over the world. And he is going from strength to strength. In 2004, he was part of the now-famous, era-defining ‘Beautiful Losers’ show. The exhibition kick-started the careers of the artists involved. Much like the Frieze show in 1988 did for the Young British Artists (YBAs).

In 2016, he won the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum National Design Award for Communication Design and since 2001. McFetridge has picked up no less than seven D&AD Awards for his work.

It can be safely said that by intuitively ignoring creative boundaries. He is a truly multidisciplinary artist working across a broad scope from poetry to animation, graphics to 3D work, textile and wallpaper to paintings.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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