“Wild Seahorse”, pigment, enamel, acrylic and varnish on Belgian linen, 30cm diameter, 2014 – Used with kind permission of Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
Mccreedy’s eponymous Blue series can now be found in major personal and corporate collections worldwide. His bespoke “Mccreedyblue” is a scientific engineering of five blue pigments manufactured for him, which he uses on a myriad of materials including a unique taut Belgian linen. Mccreedy was born in 1987 in Johannesburg. With a South African mother and a French-Irish father, Mccreedy recalls learning to paint at the tender age of four, using his mother’s make-up brushes and coffee grounds. Having studied at Hilton College, Mccreedy went on to be scouted as a professional golfer with a scholarship at Barton College in North Carolina. After a few years at Barton, he opted instead to be an artist and left for an art course at the renowned Pratt Institute. Here he found his artistic voice and started selling his art on the streets of New York City. There seems no end to this enigma’s talents. Being incredibly handsome, Mccreedy modelled under DNA models and posed for the world’s top fashion houses including Calvin Klein. But this pretty face and incredible art talent also has an incredible head for business. The skill of mastering great art with profound business acumen got Mccreedy short listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. And being listed as the South African Style Awards as the Most Stylish Business Personality of 2013 certainly doesn’t hurt your career. Twitter also loves him and @ConorMccreedy was the most followed person in South Africa in 2013. Of course, there are rumours that he was Paris Hilton’s boyfriend did not harm his reputation. Mccreedy started selling art on the street in Union Square station in New York City. In an American Dream style story Mccreedy’s work was discovered by a marketing manager who assisted in getting Mccreedy his first solo exhibition in March 2010, entitled “Outliers” at the exclusive private club The National Arts Club. Mccreedy was the youngest artist to ever exhibit at this venue. Several exhibitions later, and a number of first solos exhibitions around the world, brought Mccreedy to Hong Kong and the exceptional Cat Street Galleries. Numerous exceptional artists like South Africa’s Lionel Smit, and world famous Andrew Taylor, Peter Blake, Jason Sims, and Michael Cook have exhibited their works at Cat Street Gallery. Mccreedy very kindly answered a few questions: What do you think has been the key to your success? Seriously hard work and dedication to my craft .Learning how to build a core team.Understanding the business of luxury, brands and investments. You have been reported as saying “talent alone is not enough if you want to make it in the art world, you have to back your skills with business know-how and entrepreneurial flare”. How have you been able to do this to come from ‘painting’ with your moms make up brushes and coffee grounds at 4 to recently selling your work for $150,000?
Do you think being South African, and growing up in South Africa has contributed to your success in life? I love South Africa and I love South Africans. It’s my country of birth and I love it. South Africans are very hard workers, we like to have a good time, we play hard and world hard and that most certainly contributes to monumental success. Being a model, a sportsman, an artist, a talented businessman, well respected the list goes on… Is there one thing you are most proud of? I am proud of everything I put my mind to. I believe in hard work, dedication and trust. I am proud of my family. I am a big believer in families. I have many family members involved in my Luxury art brand and team. My younger brother and I are going to be running the Luxury safari lodge as soon as the development is complete. My cousins are getting involved in the media side of our new digital app along with some close family friends in Asia What is next for you? After just closing A solo Zurich exhibition followed by the recent solo Hong Kong exhibition I am preparing for a Palm Beach private exhibition and then we have Art Basel coming up next year in Hong Kong. Mccreedy’s works are powerful, dynamic and genuinely hypnotic, taking inspiration from life, the ocean and the energy around him and not least his South African heritage. In honour of this, his Foundation to protect African Lions was born. A Mccreedy creation is evocative, powerful and alluring but it could set you back a handsome sum. But it will certainly be worth it!