Gary James McQueen: A Collectors Guide
5 things you need to know about Alexander McQueen’s nephew and prodigy, Gary James McQueen.
Works featured on offer in West Chelsea Contemporary.
Read on below to discover five things any art lover should know about Gary James McQueen.
- Gary James McQueen’s work continues the legacy of Alexander McQueen, his uncle. He grew up besides the legendary designer and then began working alongside him, so Alexander “Lee” McQueen is more than a loved one to Gary James McQueen, hes a mentor and an inspiration. Working closely alongside Lee, Gary James was entrusted with personal projects, the most significant being the Chrome Skull artwork used for the Savage Beauty Exhibition commemorating Lee’s life work. After Lee’s death, Gary James felt as though it was his duty to continue the McQueen legacy. Gary James saw Lee the day before his death, with some of his last words to Gary James being, “I am leaving this all to you to handle.” The creative nature of Gary James comes instinctively, with him expressing that creating is more of a feeling than a conscious effort. The theatricality of Gary James’s work seems like an inherent speciality for the McQueens. Incorporated into his artwork and fashion, Gary James McQueen’s theatrical melancholia that presents the grim within beauty is the embodiment of Alexander McQueen.
- Alexander McQueen exposed the artist to the fashion industry, which now hosts his brand, The Gary James McQueen Brand. When a position opened at Alexander McQueen, the designer looked to his nephew to fill the role. Gary James was made head textile designer there, where he experimented with applications and created optical illusions for the clothing that pushed the boundaries of possibility on a 3 dimensional canvas. After Lee’s death in 2010, GJM left the brand to pursue his own vision, which led to the development of The Gary James McQueen Brand. His artistry in textile is a key focus in the apparel, especially his scarfs. To inaugurate the brand, Gary James created scarfs that have been celebrated for carrying the McQueen legacy, with each series telling a story. There are three different series for these scarfs: LIFE, DEATH, and REBIRTH. LIFE, or Modernist Fantasy Birds, is dedicated to Alexander McQueen and his love of birds. DEATH, or Carved Ivory, prompts the endangered species at the hands of man. REBIRTH, or Moonlight Serenade, celebrates feminity and the cycle of creativity. The brand’s insignia a Wolf’s head taken and modernized from the McQueen Coat of Arms.
- The Vanitas Skull, The Flayed Angel, and Savage Beauty are tributes to Alexander McQueen These works were created after Alexander McQueen’s death and all contain different meanings and backstories relating to Alexander McQueen. They are all lenticulars that are constantly transforming during their interactions with the viewer. The Vanitas Skull was used in the McQueen documentary to symbolize Alexander McQueen’s personality and creative spirit. This piece is simultaneously portraying life and death as golden birds, butterflies, and flowers compose the skull while live flowers flourish and deteriorate. Savage Beauty is a literal vision of Lee’s that Gary James manifested. According to Gary James, Lee approached him saying he wanted his face to morph into a skull and that he wanted the artist to make it for him. The Flayed Angel references one of Lee’s primary inspirations as a designer, Flayed Angel (1745) by Jacques-Fabien Gautier d’Agoty, a painting that led to the creation of some of Lee’s most iconic runway looks. Gary James’s The Flayed Angel contains a figure facing away from us turning around with a contorting spine as the viewer moves around the image, bringing the original painting to life. These works are incredibly important pieces for Gary James McQueen, who used his innate talent to bring the creative spirit of Alexander McQueen to life.
- Much of today’s work by Gary James McQueen roots from his time spent with Alexander, where he was heavily influenced at a young age Only being 10 years apart in age, Lee and Gary James grew up together and were very close, and Gary James attributes his time spent with Lee as a major influence on who he is as an artist today. A very influential factor of Lee’s influence is when Lee would babysit Gary James in his youth. Lee showed him a lot of horror movies and drew made up characters inspired from these movies while they watched them. Gary James of course followed alongside his uncle, drawing his own characters, which he believes have been carried into his work today.
- Gary James McQueen considers himself a child of the digital age, and rightfully so. His technological abilities are the basis of his work, allowing him to make elaborate designs and imagery. Gary James has been creating on a technological platform for around 20 years, working with graphic design, 3D digital sculptures, and 3D printing. He has grown up alongside technology and is always looking for the newest innovation within the field. Recently, he created a digital fashion show, where viewers watched an 8 minutes film that included deep storytelling and a virtual showroom, all while providing an AR experience. Using Dress X, the owner of a piece from the show can try on their digital looks. Gary James is also a supporter of NFTs and sees a lot of potential in transforming his work into NFTs.
What’s on now at WCC:
West Chelsea Contemporary presents the Austin International Art Fair, a 7 week long, large-scale immersive exhibition featuring rare works by an impressive roster of international art world masters. Included in the show is father of Surrealism Salvador Dalí with an exceptional selection from the Argillet Collection. Additional featured artists include: Neo-surrealist Australian artist Gil Bruvel, Gary James McQueen, contemporary Chinese artists Zhang Xiao Gang, Yue Min Jun, and Zao Wu Ki, as well as Neo-Pop Japanese artists Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.
Salvador Dalí | Zhang Xiaogang | Takashi Murakami | Yoshitomo Nara | Gil Bruvel | Yue Minjun | Gary James McQueen | The Connor Brothers | Edward Burtynsky | Maurizio Cattelan | The Love Child | Sofia Cianciulli | Peter Doig | Roberto Dutesco | Kate Garner | Claude Gassian | Damien Hirst | Liu Bolin | Raphael Mazzucco | Vik Muniz | Lyora Pissarro | Gerhard Richter | Gillie & Marc Schattner | Mila Sketch | Hunt Slonem | Matthew Trujillo | Victor Vasarely | Antoine Verglas | Albert Watson | Zao Wou-ki | Rimi Yang | Russell Young | Zhong Biao
Reach out today to inquire or acquire.