Barry McGee (born 1966 in San Francisco) is a painter and graffiti artist. He is also known by monikers such as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, Twist and further variations of Twist, such as Twister, Twisty, Twisto and others.
McGee graduated from El Camino High School in South San Francisco, California. He later graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 with a concentration in painting and printmaking.
McGee rose out of the Mission School art movement and graffiti boom in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early nineties. His work draws heavily from a pessimistic view of the urban experience, which he describes as, “urban ills, overstimulations, frustrations, addictions & trying to maintain a level head under the constant bombardment of advertising”.
McGee’s paintings are very iconic, with central figures dominating abstracted backgrounds of drips, patterns and color fields. He has also painted portraits of street characters on their own empty bottles of liquor, painted flattened spray cans picked up at train yards and painted wrecked vehicles for art shows.
McGee has had numerous shows in many kinds of galleries and was also an artist in residence at inner-city McClymonds High School in Oakland, California in the early 1990s.
The market value of his work rose considerably after 2001 as a result of his being included in the Venice Biennale and other major exhibitions. As a result, much of his San Francisco street art has been scavenged or stolen.
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