Boston Photographer Matt McKee’s Sweet Success
It must be wonderful to wake up every day and be photographer Matt McKee. We’ve all heard that when you love what you are doing your job isn’t work, so it seems like McKee gets to play all day long in his Hyde Park studio filled with so many props and odds ‘n’ ends; it is reminiscent of an imaginative Romper Room for playful minds.
Not surprising, McKee tells ArtBeat, it was playtime as a child that inevitably led him toward a career taking pictures.
This playtime was when he first used a Polaroid Instamatic to capture an image of his 3 foot T-Rex figurine fighting off a battalion of toy soldiers, crushed Jeeps and all.
Hooked on the speed of the photographic process, McKee began seriously studying photography in college and now as a professional he uses his imaginative and child-like energy to get to the true essence of whatever he is working on. Although the “business stuff and paperwork can reduce the fun sometimes”, he admits, “being a little wacky is a great mindset to keep things fresh.” This can easily be appreciated on McKee’s personal photography projects or several venues around Bean Town, his technical approach to both his commercial and his fine art is unparalleled. From portraiture, photo illustrations and corporate commissions to explosive forays into food politics, Matt McKee is an artist with serious longevity.
McKee is among 60 artists included in a unique art purchasing opportunity coming December 2-17th to Boston’s historic Piano Craft Gallery‘s 3rd Annual Art 100. This “Affordable Art Exhibit” provides collectors a limited time to buy original art for a fixed price of $100. Attendees will have a chance to hang a few select photographs from McKee’s Sweet Blasts! signature series on their walls. Sweet Blasts! is everything but innocuous photographs of food as McKee not-so-subliminally hits us with a message about our inhumane and unsustainable food production, along with humankind’s ability to “blow it all up”.
McKee’s approach is hyper-real and dangerously juxtapose. We need food to live, but according to McKee, some of our food can literally kill us. Heavy idea, but still imbued with humor and cheeky attitude that this conceptual photographer favors.
He shares that time management and staying positive in the face of “slings and arrows” is sometimes a challenge as is matching the right concept with the right buyer. Showing his personal art in galleries still gives him butterflies and he recently procrastinated preparing a five minute speech for Cambridge Art Association‘s 2016 Red Biennial – at the Kathryn Shultz Gallery – where his Cherry Bomb! image can be seen until December 21st, because public speaking is out of his comfort zone.
Visitors to this exhibit will see that McKee makes this cluster of ultra-red cherries look like they will take you out of existence in a deliciously sticky mess, the shiny metal grenade pin contrasting menacingly with the juicy fruit. His other work is also imbued with this same powerful storytelling that is literally worth a thousand words.
Making a plan and sticking to deadlines helps him meet the “time management” challenge, as does balancing time for art events, networking along with home and family commitments, McKee tells us. He humbly gives credit to his wife and kids for keeping him grounded and his mother for being the biggest influence on his life.
“Be consistent in the pursuit of goals and you will never be bored,” he counsels. He says that learning from his mistakes keeps him on track and he feels that producing quality work is more important than keeping up with some large goal of quantity. McKee has set projects aside rather than push the creative process past the point of having focus, often coming back to the piece later with the “rush” of finding just the right element that brings it all together. Success!
ArtBeat Magazine is inspired and excitedly looking forward to more from Matt McKee soon.