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 prominent in his work and he is a proud member of the ukulele band The Everly Pregnant Brothers, alongside occasional DJ slots. Pete is a proud patron of The Sheffield Children’s Hospital 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. Pete has collaborated with a number of artists and brands including Rega, XFM, Richard Hawley, Disney, ACME Studios, Warp Films and The Human League. Noel Gallagher, a fan of Pete’s work, also chose Pete to design tour posters for Oasis.
In 2010 Pete was invited to design a limited edition pair of Clarks Desert Boots, using the original style template for a McKee makeover. The boots were a sell-out worldwide success with stockists in Japan, London and New York.
In 2011 Pete was approached by the internationally renowned fashion designer Paul Smith, to create a selection of images to commemorate 20 years since the opening of his first store in Japan. Pete created the subculture themed exhibition ‘Teenage Kicks’ which was shown at Paul Smiths flagship Tokyo store. To commemorate this collaboration selected images were reproduced on to Paul Smith clothing and bags targeted to 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’. The Sheffield based gallery is the main place to see Pete’s work alongside original artworks and limited edition prints.
In 2012 Pete was invited to take part in a special project for Warp Films, celebrating their 10 year anniversary. 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. In 2016 Pete held his biggest exhibition to date ‘6 Weeks to Eternity’ a celebration of the 6 weeks holidays. This was displayed for two days only at the Magna Science Museum and visited by over 8000 people.
In 2017 McKee London opened it’s doors for the first time at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, for one month only. This was Pete’s first pop-up shop in London and featured classic McKee artworks alongside special limited edition prints and collaborations with Warp films and Pretty Green.