That is exactly what it looks like. I am the humble recipient of personalized sketches from Barry McGee and Clare Rojas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Barry McGee let me throw out a little simile. Barry McGee is to Street Art, as Picasso is to Cubism. No joke, he is by far one of the most central artists of this style. He’s respected all over the world in graffiti circles and fine art galleries for his precise hand style, be it with a pen, a spray can or a brush, and my little piece is no exception. (click pictures to enlarge).
So how is this happening to me? I have no clue and I’ve been asking myself that very question over and over. No I did not fork out a couple grand to get a commissioned piece. This all started 6 months ago at my regular admin. job in Walnut Creek (well, not so regular, cool things happen to me all time including trips to Costa Rica). I was sitting at the front desk like any other day, when my amazing boss (not ass kissing, she’s really an amazing person and friend!) comes in with her mother to show off the new office. I don’t really remember how the conversation started but Kathy’s cousin Barry comes up in discussion. I’ll never forget this moment for the rest of my life “Oh, Maggie, you like art. My Cousin Barry is an artist, maybe you have heard of him. His name is Barry McGee”. Her mom adds sweetly, “He some times goes by twist or twisto or something”. At this point all the blood has rushed from my face and they get excited to see that I recognize the name. I immediately launch into an adrenaline fulled 30 minute tirade about all things Barry McGee and Street art. I start a long winded description of his significance as an artist to greater art history and end in a stupor of disbelief that I am literally 1 degree separated from Twist himself.
This amazing realization has loomed in the back of my head for 6 months, a dream unfulfilled until yesterday. Over the weekend Kathy had a family reunion to attend and I hoped beyond hopes that Barry and Clare would be there, maybe Kathy would ask for an autograph or at least tell him I was a huge fan and that I had a website dedicated to Street Art. Unfortunately, she sends me an email on Sunday saying he wasn’t there but that she included a picture of his niece and his sister. That was sweet and exciting none the less. Monday rolls around and Kathy calls a staff meeting to discuss a marketing program we use. Kathy, Rich, Ron and I all gather around the table to start the meeting and Kathy hands me an envelope saying she’d like me to review the contents to see if it was something we could implement in our company. I open the envelope and pull out a few random pieces of paper that have nothing to do with marketing. I stare at them for two seconds and realize what they are, in my hands in the middle of a staff meeting sit an original sketch signed Ray Virgil and a second signed “P.H.”. I immediately recognize the character and the moniker to be Barry McGee and about an hour rolls by as I’m screaming, spontaneously laughing and hugging everyone in the room (Video soon to follow).
(Seriously I can not convey how thankful I am for everyone involved, I can’t believe they took the time to do a full sketch!)
(Families that draw together :-D)
It was a great moment for me, one that will be a highlight for the rest of my life. It was a great afternoon because the gifting occasion started a great conversation about art, graffiti, public property and family with my coworkers. It was wonderful to share my passion for contemporary art with my coworkers who know me as the efficient office manager. :-P I think everyone involved walked away in a great mood and with an appreciation for street art. Spreading the word, one staff meeting at a time.
Anyways, back to the art. Both pieces are done with card stalk and caligraphy pen. The McGee piece is signed “Hi Maggie”,”Ray Virgil”, “Tracy’s 60th” Sept 18th, 10 and the Rojas piece is signed “To Maggie, 9.18.10, P.H.” I’m assuming P.H. is Peggy Honeywell, a Moniker Clare goes by and if memory serves me that is also the name she uses when she sings in a band.
I hope you enjoyed my long winded story, every now and then I will use this website for “Dear Diary” moments. You just experienced one of them.
Now I need to frame these little guys! I want to display them and protect them from sun damage so I’m planning on dropping a pretty penny on some museum quality, archival framing… does anyone know anything about this stuff? If so, leave a comment below. Also here are a few links to interviews PBS Art 21 did with Barry. Art 21 Bio, Barry on Public Space and Ownership, Interview.