McKay Felt is conjuring up some radical stuff. With subjects exchanging from observational portraiture to imaginative surrealism, while both carrying the style of cartoonism, it’s easy to see why his work is appealing to the masses. The young Utah native, and current resident of London, is presently freelancing, studying abroad, and trademarking his style while remaining a down-to-earth dude who simply enjoys creating art and the company of his newlywed wife. Cliché talks with Felt about the past, present, and future state of his work.
Cliché: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Where you are from, and what you do?
McKay Felt: I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah, and I draw pictures professionally. I’m currently living in London with my beautiful wife, and we have been married for one year. I had a dog once, but he died three years ago. His name was Arthur. Peace be upon him.
Where did your artistic journey begin?
Since birth. I’ve been drawing as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil. Whenever I see a blank piece of paper or a blank wall, I still get giddy and want to draw all over it.
I would consider myself three quarters self-taught and one quarter formally trained. I did some AP courses in high school and two classes at Utah State University, where I made the decision to come study at the University of the Arts London.
What techniques do you use?
I love using bold lines to depict my images. I’m really into ink brushes lately. I have two that my mother-in-law bought me in Japan that never leave my side.
Do you try to create daily or feed solely off inspiration?
A little bit of both. I try to draw as often as I can, but sometimes I just have to wait until something comes to me. It doesn’t quite work out to EVERY single day, but I draw a ton.
You have a very distinctive style that’s cartoonish and grotesque. When did this develop?
I’ve been inspired by cartoons since I was a kid, so naturally it worked itself into my artwork. I feel like the “grotesque” part started in junior high. I swear I wasn’t that angsty of a teen though. I personally don’t see it as “grotesque” as someone who has never seen my stuff before, so really it has just developed over time to what it is now. I do a weird bounce between my creepy cartoony style and my more stylized realistic drawings. I feel like it’s pretty eclectic sometimes and I think they’re starting to fuse.
Your work sometimes references popular shows, such as Adventure Time. Would you or have you ever considered getting into animation?
I doodle Adventure Time drawings in my sketchbook just for fun because they’re such interesting characters. I have considered it, but I don’t think I have the attention span and dedication it takes. I really appreciate animated films and shows a lot because of that.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Literally everything. I guess if I had to narrow it down to specific things, I would say mostly people. I really like interesting faces and hands. Music also has a good deal of influence on my creativity.
What would you like for your art to say about you?
I wouldn’t really want it to say anything about me necessarily. I just want people to be able to enjoy what I create if they want to. I want them to feel some kind of something—whether it’s made them want to draw again, made them feel happy or sad, or made them want to have a coke and hang out with their besties.
Do you have any projects you are in the midst of or looking forward to?
I have a billion projects in my head that I’m nowhere near getting around to. It’s hard to pick and choose. I’m currently working with Denik—a rad notebook company with a social mission that I’ve helped with since their birth—and I’m doing freelance work while attending university.
What are you future plans or hopes for your artistic career?
Who knows? I think that’s the beauty of it. I know that I want to help art make a difference in the world and to be happy constantly creating. I’ll continue doing freelance and other projects, but I want to dabble in fashion as well.
To see more of McKay’s work, follow him on Instagram @mckayfelt
McKay Felt’s interview originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s December/January 2014 issue.
Images courtesy of McKay Felt.