We welcome in Canadian artist Case Mackeen as he joins us with his debut RUN The Layup. Mackeen merges his past graffiti experience and his studio work into a style that integrates both classical and street art, while continuing to push the industrial medium of spray paint. Read on as Case Mackeen gives us the story behind his debut RUN, his background and much more. . .
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Case MacKeen: I have an affinity for painting on trains and I wanted to capture the feeling and the aesthetic of this action. So often many aspects of graffiti are spotlighted, but the act of bombing, the classic action-shot, is less so and for me that is the best part.
1x: Was this image part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Mackeen: Yes, it was part of a series I showed with Jon Davis (SPYDR) in Toronto. The series depicted graffiti writers in train yards and subway stations at different stages of writing graffiti. The group of paintings highlighted those feelings conjured up by this action – the excitement, the camaraderie, the rush and the consequences.
1x: When was this piece created and what materials were used to create this original piece? How long did it take from start to finish?
Mackeen: This piece was created in October 2016 and I used Belton Spray Paint on Birch Panel with an Epoxy-Resin finish. This one took about 90 mins.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this image?
Mackeen: Graffiti writing has been a defining part of my life and I wanted to express the way I experienced it. I drew upon old photos and developed them into my current style of what I’ve been calling Post-Graffiti Impressionism. I executed this piece just like painting a train, freehand with spray paint and as quickly as possible.
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
Mackeen: I think it represents an important aspect of street art culture and that is putting yourself on the line and risking something for what you love.
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
1x: What have you been up to over the last few months? Bring us up to speed on how things have been going recently for you?
Mackeen: Recently I was commissioned by Union Bank in Hartford CT to paint a triptych for their head office. I have also had the pleasure of illustration my rap heroes for a Netflix Series call Hip Hop Evolution
1x: Any recent shows or exhibitions that you had?
Mackeen: I was part of an amazing group show at Only One Gallery in Toronto on Feb. 5. It included many of my contemporaries from Parkdale and the downtown area and it was a great way to start off 2018.
I am looking forward to showing with OOG again sometime next fall with PRISM (@michaelwalshsculptor) who is a ground breaking street art sculptor with which I have painted graffiti since the mid 90’s.
1x: What are some of the ways you have been trying to push yourself with your work over the last year?
Mackeen: I have been putting my work out there more. Letting go and saying yes to everything – even social media. That lead to producing more work and reconnecting with people, in fact lead me here.
1x: What are some strides you feel you’ve made in your work recently?
Mackeen: I have been exploring a style that developed from years of working with spraypaint. A style that is unique and instantly recognizable, modern but also has a connection to impressionism and Post-impressionism.
Its through this exploration I have been able to shed my past hangups and ingrained graffiti “rules” and open up to spraying paint in new ways.
1x: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Mackeen: It was a small piece by Shok 1 from the UK.
1x: Do you have any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Mackeen: I have a solo show in May at Ille Gallery (illegallery.com)_. Its is a new Toronto gallery in the Junction run by OMEN of Montreal fame. It is the debut opening and I am honoured to be selected and to be working again with an old friend who is pushing the gallery format.