Pete McKee has become one of South Yorkshire’s most iconic commercial artists of the 21st century. His work depicts expressionless figures in a cartoon style and almost exclusively thematically centered around Sheffield’s landmarks, people, culture, sports teams and even regional dialect.
His background in comic strips for newspapers led him to this bold, cartoonesque style. He found that removing the expression from the figures brought the work away from being a comic strip and turned him into a fine artist and a painter.
He aims to create connections to the people of Sheffield on a human level, drawing influence from his youth and the history of Sheffield and how, despite much change, the spirit of the area still remains very much the same. Below is his “Hole In The Road Fish Tank” which depicts the, now filled in, shopping centre that used to reside under Sheffield city centre that is often remembered by the fish tank seen in this work.
The Hole In The Road that was there from 1967 until 1994.
McKee creates a mood that reflects Sheffield culture in a reminiscent way. Using the iconic and recognisable imagery, such as football jerseys and local buildings in a minimalist way helps people of Yorkshire to connect to the art and reflect back on the values instilled in them from childhood. He offers a relatable and descriptive narrative to the Yorkshire mentality of not having much, but making that little bit you do have everything and being proud of it; a quiet patriotism often lost in comparison to brash American patriotism.