Our Staff: Art meets Music with Chris McKelvey

by Cass Art

Behind the scenes at our Islington Flagship store lies great talent. Graduate from BA (Hons) Graphic Design & Media at LCC, Chris McKelvey’s work explores screen printing as a medium and contemporary and even fictional imagery as a theme. We chat to him about his latest exhibition at Blend café in Harringay, running from 1st – 28th February.

The exhibition is titled ‘Do You Remember Captain Gene Holmes?’ – can you give us an overview of the work on display?

Captain Gene Holmes is the name of the gas mask man which was used on the flyers for my first band - The Genome Project (Genome = Gene Holmes, sorry poor pun!).
We played for about four years from 2003 and would send out the flyers to friends and family to advertise gigs.

The exhibition features various versions of the Captain and other visual ideas for personal music projects, also there's visual work for two other bands that I'm involved with - Howtocuredyslexia and Lé DiM.

What are your favourite materials to use and mediums to work with?

I really love vibrant Pop-Art colours so I mainly use heavy body acrylics and gouache; for the exhibition I used both paints on acetate sheets which is based on old animation techniques.

The screen prints were made before I graduated from University last year.

What’s your working process like? Do you have any tips for novice screen printers or spray painters?

My working process can be a bit scatter brained, I normally make loads of mistakes before getting to a point where I'm happy.

I still consider myself a novice so I'm not really the best person to give out advice.

The only thing I would suggest is when making a screen print that has more than one colour; test additional paint layers on a sheet of acetate before going straight onto the original, even with crop marks and registration strips it's still possible to be slightly out of line.

What’s up ahead in the future for Chris McKelvey Creative?

My main priority is to sort out my website which is a bit rough!

Tell us about life at the Flagship Store…

So far it's been a very positive experience, my colleagues are not only easy to get along with but (as a majority of them are artists) happy to share tips on creative techniques.

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