Interview with Fintan Magee for “The Big Dry”

Thinkspace is proud to present, ‘The Big Dry‘ the first solo exhibition of
new works by Australian artist and street muralist Fintan Magee in our main room.  Fintan is a contemporary social realist and a portrait painter who incorporates compelling and poetic elements of the surreal into his pieces. For The Big Dry, Magee looks to the idea of the American dream, specifically, the white picket fence and the aspirational ambitions it represents. Drawing parallels with the exclusionary policies of the Trump era and its constant inculcation and threat of ‘the wall,’ Magee considers the white picket fence as another divisive symbol, and asks the question: “who built the American dream?” In anticipation of Fintan’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Fintan Magee to discuss his latest body of work, time travel, and studio life.

Join us for the opening of “The Big Dry”, Saturday, June 2nd from 6 to 9 pm. 

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?
FM: The show is really an exploration of day to day experience to explore issues and place them in a human context. This exhibition will be a series of paintings, short stories, and installations that I will explore my experiences during the millennium drought in Australia. I wanted to draw links between the drought in Australia and California but also use my experiences to talk about broader global issues like climate change.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?
FM: I don’t really check blogs as much as I used to which sucks because the Instagram and Facebook algorithms are really making it difficult to see interesting or different content other than the shit that is going ‘viral’. The three Instagram profiles I check daily outside of art are @amapaday @browncardigan and @cooksuck

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
FM: Pretty much all of it.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
FM: Pretty much all of it.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
FM: I have one day off to get wasted and then usually get straight back to work. After being locked away in the studio for a while I am usually pretty eager to get out and paint some walls so I like to get straight back out there.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
FM: I usually start with a sketch, then take reference photo’s, then do another sketch. Then put together a mockup in photoshop. If I am happy with how it’s working I will then put it on canvas.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?
FM: No I am constantly working year round besides a week or two off at Christmas. I am usually in the studio 6 days a week and try to do a solid 8 hours painting every day, sometimes more if I have a deadline.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?
FM: No, I rarely snack. 3 square meals a day is enough for me. I was on a low carb diet when I was making most of this show which generally sucked. I am looking forward to putting some weight back on when I get to America.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?
FM: I have never really thought about something like this before. I have always seen my work as telling stories so I would want to work with a musician that also saw themselves as similar, Someone like Tom Waits, Nick Cave or Kendrick Lamar for example.

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.
FM: I don’t think there has ever been a moment. I have always been drawing since I was a little kid so it has been a long and slow build up more than anything.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?
FM: The only thing I use out of the ordinary is a weed sprayer and a fire extinguisher full of paint. The only thing I wish is that I was able to keep my studio cleaner. It’s usually pretty chaotic.

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?
FM: There is no way I would go back in time. I would be pretty keen to see what the world is like 100 years from now. So I would just drop in and out of points in the future to see how it all worked out.

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