American Spirit: Margaret Kilgallen

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

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About six or seven years ago, maybe more, I bought a t-shirt from the Giant Robot store on Sawtelle, it featured the words Cookie’s Surf Shop with a simple drawing of a female surfer. I didn’t really know anything about it, only that the line work seemed so perfect, a mixture of times gone by with a sense of modernity. It turns out the shirt was based off a painting by Margaret Kilgallen. The saddest part is that she had already passed away from cancer.

When I think of the story of Margaret Kilgallen it makes me incredibly sad. Only in her early 30’s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer… while she was also pregnant with her husband Barry McGee. In order for their daughter, named Asha, to survive, Margaret forwent chemo therapy, sacrificing her own life for that of her unborn daughters. It’s a sad and tragic story that I feel should never be forgotten, because she was not only completely unselfish, she was one of the most incredible artists from the Beautiful Losers movement.

I had the extreme pleasure of seeing her work at the opening of Art in the Streets, one I chose to truly relish. I sat back and soaked it in, absorbing the way she drew people and the curves in her type. I sat there thinking of all the time it took her to hang paint each of these panels, and how beautiful it all looks as a complete thought. It saddens me that the world has lost such a brilliant artist, but I always look on the bright side and think of how glad I am that she was here at all.

Check out the photo gallery below, and if you have the chance, visit Art in the Streets so you can see her brilliant work in person. If you’re in San Francisco, there’s also some of her pieces up right now at Ratio 3, you can get more information here.

Bobby

July 4, 2011 / By

Never Been by Stuart Kolakovic

Though I don’t post a lot about it, I really love me some folk-ish art. I was raised by my mother who drag me to craft fairs all the time, which made me kind of hate anything of the sort. But then I was introduced to the work of Margaret Kilgallen and my perception was totally and completely changed. Stuart Kolakovic’s work gives me the same feeling as Kilgallen’s does, maybe with a touch of Kara Walker’s sense of narrative.

Stuart recently did a giant mural for his solo show at Projeckts MCR, which he’s now scanned in and put online with the help of his brother Adam. The mural is titled Never Been, and has now become and interactive art project that is absolutely stunning and mind blowing. You go through the mural by dragging your mosue across the screen, slowly exploring this beautiful world that Stuart has created, filled with the most beautiful, muted colors and thousands of minute details. One of the first images you come across is an old woman sitting on the shore of the ocean, her dress made up of patchwork quilts, all featuring the most amazing patterns.

As you go you start to realize that you’re following the trials and tribulations of a small family. A man falls in love with a woman, the seasons change, there’s life, there’s death, happiness and sorrow. When you look at this, definitely take the time to figure out which are the main characters in the story, and go from there, I promise you’ll enjoy yourself.

Bobby

June 23, 2008 / By

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