Who is Pete McKee?
Pete McKee was born in 1966. It was the year England won the World Cup, but also the year that his beloved Sheffield Wednesday lost the FA Cup. Perhaps it is this bittersweet beginning that has given rise to some of Pete’s most poignant work, images that can make you laugh out loud or break your heart. His dad Frank was a former steelworker who retired after an industrial accident and his mum Marjorie worked part time at a bakery.
Growing up on a Sheffield council estate throughout the 1960’s and 70’s has become the inspiration for much of Pete’s work. His relationships, his childhood, his passion for music and his wonderful self-deprecating humour come together to create evocative images that have earned him a worldwide following. His home city of Sheffield also provides a constant source of inspiration, with exhibitions such as ‘The Joy of Sheff’ and ’22 Views of Sheffield’ celebrating all that is great and good about the city.
Pete’s love of music is clear in his work and he is a proud member of ukelele band The Everley Pregnant Brothers, alongside occasional DJ slots. Pete is a proud patron of The Sheffield Children’s hospital’s arts charity Artfelt as well as an ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Record Store Day.
Collaborations and Friends
Pete’s iconic style has led to a growing international fanbase, taking in the great and the good. Noel Gallagher, himself a fan of Pete’s work, chose Pete to design tour posters for Oasis. Pete has since collaborated with other artists and brands including Rega, XFM, Richard Hawley, Disney, ACME Studios, Warp Films and The Arctic Monkeys.
In 2010 Pete was invited to design a limited edition pair of Clarks Desert Boots, using the original style template and giving it a McKee makeover. The boots were a sell-out worldwide success with stockists in Japan, London and New York.
Then in 2011 Pete was approached by internationally renowned designer Paul Smith, to create a selection of images to commemorate 20 years since opening his first store in Japan. Pete created the exhibition ‘Teenage Kicks’ which was shown at his flagship Tokyo store. To commemorate this collaboration selected images were reproduced on Paul Smith clothing and bags specifically for the Japanese market. Since then Pete has designed several t-shirts for Paul and continues to work with him to this day.
That same year Pete opened his own dedicated gallery ‘A Month Of Sundays’ in Sheffield the gallery is the place to see Pete’s work as well as exhibitions from other artists he likes.
2012 saw Pete being invited to take part in a special project from Warp Films, celebrating its 10th birthday. Pete was asked to re-create 10 posters from 10 of their iconic films, including Dead Man’s Shoes, Submarine and This is England.
Since then Pete has continued to exhibit his work across the UK and beyond and he recently held is biggest exhibition to date ‘6 Weeks to Eternity’ a celebration of the 6 weeks holiday. This was displayed for two days only at The magna Science Museum and visited by over 8000 people.
This year McKee London opens it’s doors for the first time at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. This will be Pete’s first pop-up shop in London and will feature classic McKee works alongside some very special limited editions and collaborations.