Self Portrait

Max McConkey

[Recent interview with the artist: ]

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." (Francis Bacon)

My colorful, textural pieces on hardboard panels are created with a mixture of oil & cold wax and often oil sticks, crayon, pastels, acrylics, and, sometimes, a multitude of other materials, including cement, cloth, metal, glue, and wood.

An admirer of and influenced by many artists (e.g., Diebenkorn, Rothko, Franz Kline, Robert McGill, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, and Rebecca Crowell), my principal inspirations are my surroundings: rural (streams, forest floors, southwest deserts, mountain walls of rock, sky) and urban (structures, deteriorated wood, rusted iron, scarred stone, graffiti). I have no interest in attempting to replicate what I see, but I do work to evoke emotions stimulated by the multitude of textures, colors, and line in the enviornment surrounding me.

Critical to my work is music and many of my paintings (and their titles) reflect the feelings ignited by jazz, classical, Americana, and other music genres; my art studio is filled with music.

Art has been a passion since boyhood. In the late 1960s and 1970s, I created a nationally distributed cartoon strip, penned editorial cartoons, and created a series of politically-focused collages. While I have done everything from caricatures to oil portraits throughout these years, my great love has always been abstraction.

I was pleased to be recognized and the images of two my paintings included in the recent book, "Oil and Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts, and Conversations," by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin, published in spring 2017 by Squeegee Press. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the fascinating oil-cold wax medium.

My wife, Emely, also an artist, and I -- with our three dogs -- make our home in southern Arizona.