Thomas James chats with artist Conor Mccreedy
The quintessence of any artist is what distinguishes them from others. So, when I met with Conor Mccreedy to ask him about his, he begins by reading me his artistic statement:
“I lose myself in a divine invention, where judgment is laid aside and my experiences in the world are left to breathe without the constraint of self-awareness or convention. The raw power and mysterious void of the ocean is my inspiration, the equalizer of mankind. We live in a volatile world where race, gender, time, and religion distract us from the real. My experiences of the human dilemma are archived in my mind; they arise in moments of unabashed and unbounded creativity. Tides of creation are painted and put into motion by pure adrenaline. This creative combustion has driven me to go beyond portraiture, and to explore new worlds of neo-expressionism and abstraction where volatile uncertainties are not only demolished but also become unheard of. The blue pigment that I use conveys a sense of ambiguity. It is a unique substance out of which almost elemental water emerges”.
Mccreedy divides his time between South Africa, the Unites States and Europe he loves discovering new things whilst traveling. His fascination with scents and colours is reflected in the candles and soap bars he collects and equally, he has become especially known for the colour he created, “Mccreedy Blue”. This blue is incorporated into his artistic works and most of his handmade European suits also.
Conor Mccreedy has a passion for animals that not only can be seen in his art but also can be seen in his life. He has his very own African lion, Mohlatsi, which is kept in South Africa at The Ranch Conservancy. Lions as well other cats are dear to Mccreedy’s heart, which is why he donates a percentage of most of his art sales to the Protecting African Lions (P.A.L.) foundation. Mccreedy is also an ambassador for the Ubuntu Educational Fund, which was founded, by Jacob Lief, a close friend of his.
Mccreedy’s creative vision has created a surge of interest in the art collecting community. One painting, Secret Movements, was sold to an undisclosed collector in Manhattan for approximately $196,000. This individual was offered $260,000 dollars for this rare piece in early 2013 but declined to accept.
In conversation, I asked Mccreedy further questions about his paintings and his philanthropic work and below I record some of his responses:
Thomas James: Is there something in particular about Secret Movements or your paintings in general that draws this undisclosed collector to your work?
Conor Mccreedy: “He has always loved my work. However, my trademark Mccreedy Blue paintings are what he collects mostly. This is the highest price for a single painting of mine to be sold as of yet. I am honoured that people would spend this amount of money on one of my creations. The collector turned down the initial offer as he felt it was not enough but equally, he does not intend on selling this piece anytime soon”.
TJ: Why does Secret Movements have an almost magnetic effect on people?
CM: “The lines and angles are unending in the painting. It can be looked at for hours as it starts to almost move within the canvas like a wild ocean. The piece is extremely powerful and strong. This is a unique sized piece being around 8 foot long by 3 foot high”.
TJ: What influencers and personalities have you sold your art to?
CM: “I do not really keep track of the ‘famous’ people who own my works. Time Warner has a piece or two and Steve Tyler liked an early work of mine so much he started to kiss it. We are working closely with Goldman Sachs and their art department this year and the following year to possibly create a mural for their Manhattan headquarters. I all goes well, the mural will be a painting almost as large as a tennis court”.
TJ: Assuming your favorite animal is the lion what ways are your trying to help and preserve lions in Africa.
CM: “Yes, my favorite animal is the lion. I am very upset to see what has happened to the rhino population also and do not want our lion population in Africa to continue to fall drastically. This is why I have decided to take a stand to make sure our lions don’t become extinct over the next 10 years”.
“We launch the ‘Mccreedy Blue P.A.L.’ bracelets in 2 weeks time. These bracelets won’t just support P.A.L., but will also fund my four affiliated foundations. It is a global movement that will be built up with tribes of believers and connectors and the bracelet will symbolise the connection between people and lions. Every time we sell a painting, I make sure that a percentage is put into the Protecting African Lions (P.A.L.) foundation. It needs all the seed funding and support it can get in its early stages so that it can flourish with the right team. We are fortunate enough to have amazing ambassadors from all over the world. This I am very grateful for and have worked extremely hard on pulling this together. It is something very close to my heart. I am African. I love Africa and will always be African”.
There is much interest in Mccreedy’s works amongst collectors living in international cities such as London and New York, but for him, the South African contemporary collecting art market is becoming increasingly important. This year, there will be two solo exhibitions of his works in Nigeria and South Africa and he will also be displaying two paintings at the Sydney Art Fair with his South African representative, the Everard Read Gallery.
For more information about Conor Mccreedy, go to: http://conormccreedy.com
Follow him on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/CONORMCREEDY
For more details on Protecting African Lions (P.A.L.), go to: http://protectingafricanlions.org