A native Savannahian and a self-taught artist, McGee’s collages are on display at Foxy Loxy in her gallery show, “Paper Soup.”
McGee’s collages are weirdly whimsical, marrying unexpected items that are sure to produce a laugh.
We spoke with McGee last week.
I’m self-taught. My dad was an artist; he was always painting and I grew up around it. I have sketchbooks of record albums I drew, like Rick Springfield and Bryan Adams. It’s neat to go back and look, and sometimes it’s horrifying [laughs].
I’m a writer, too. I have a poetry book that came out a week and a half ago. It was something I needed to get out of me. [Self-publishing] is a lot easier now—it’s such a different world. It’s just as viable as going through an agent, but you have so much more control. There’s an immediacy you get. I had a memoir I shopped out, and an agent was interested in it but had 500 manuscripts to review first. I was like, oh, my God.
[Writing] is kind of my first thing, and I’ve always created. I used to make and sell jewelry. I’m one of those people who like to do everything and it’s kind of a problem!
Sometimes when I’m not in a creative or art-making mood, I get my stacks of books or magazines and put something on Netflix and find images to cut out. I have these boxes—I’d love to tell you it is highly organized but that would be a lie. About a month ago, I was in the living room and I saw something on the floor, this little face, and it freaked me out. A weird little face, not a normal face, of course—only in my house.
I spend all this time looking for the perfect image. I’ll sit there for hours going, “Well, this could work, that could work.” A lot of times I put together bags that have faces and animals and bodies and words. ’ll take a bag and my glue stick and paper, and I say, “Whatever you want to make tonight, it has to come from this bag.” It forces me to stay focused—I get very distracted.
I kind of get these frenzies where I’ll just go all or nothing with them. I’m either really doing it or not. I’ll spend two or three days in a row doing artwork, and then I’m like, “Oh, I just want to read or write.” I’m really erratic. I’m all over the place and I’m okay with that.
4. Have you always done weird work?
At first, it wasn’t. I was drawing a bunch of girls and stuff like that, and in my sketchbook, had I expected to sell it, it would have been more commercial and whimsical. I had some pieces in Lily Bay and sold a couple, but I had the pieces that didn’t sell and I’m like, “Oh God, I just moved more into that weirdness,” much to my mother’s chagrin.
This is just so much fun doing these collages, because one of my favorite art forms is pop surrealism, again with the weirdness. I didn’t go to art school so my drawing skills are’t on par with a SCAD graduate, but I can create those crazy Warhols with some paint and weird words, and that’s what I love to do.