artist fridays : margaret kilgallen

It’s Friday… and I think you all know what that means!  It’s the day I talk about an artist that I like.  That artist is Margaret Kilgallen.

My exposure to her was in freshman year in my drawing II class, our teacher showed us the PBS documentary series called Art 21.  It’s a bunch of short segments about contemporary artists.  One segment was about this couple who, in addition to their own work (murals, paintings, etc.), did graffiti.  In their segment, you see them writing on trains.  That couple is Margaret Kilagllen and Barry McGee.

That couple is also featured in this great documentary called Beautiful Losers (you should check it out if you haven’t seen it).   The documentary film focused on a number of different artists the began a movement in the art world doing D.I.Y. with graffiti and skateboards.  It’s a number of different interviews with artists explaining (and showing) their reasoning behind doing things D.I.Y. and sort of with a “punk rock” attitude.  The interesting part of their story is the juxtaposition that occurs when much of their art is becoming recognizable.  The artists start getting commissioned for things like commercial products and creating work for corporations.  The personal convictions of this new lifestyle compared to their beginnings is discussed.    Both McGee and Kilgallen were an integratal part in the movement and rose to fame, having a number of different commerical and gallery oportunities.

Margaret Kilgallen

Margaret Kilagallen originally grew up in MD (what what!) and attended art school in Colorado, eventually earning her MFA at Stanford.    Her work and murals reflect an interest in hand-painted signs (a dying art), American fold art, mural painting, and work of Southwest and Mexican artists.

I love her work- It’s Americana and references a past culture in our country.  I love the hand-done typography and the fact that you can see her hand, her process in it. Sadly, Margaret died in 2001 with complications from breast cancer.

I think her work still looks incredibly current even though it is over a decade old.

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