Self Portrait

Max McConkey

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

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

An admirer of and influences by many artists (e.g., Diebenkorn, Rothko, Franz Kline, Robert McGill, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, and particularly Rebecca Crowell -- see below), my principal inspirations are my surroundings: rural (streams, forest floors, southwest deserts, mountain walls of rock) 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 around me.

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

I am pleased to be recognized and the images of two my paintings included in the new book, "Oil and Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts, and Conversations," by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin, published this spring by Squeegee Press. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this fascinating medium. Order it here:

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