George Mead is a painter’s painter, technical and exacting to the core, but most importantly an observer of space, time, and change. His main preoccupation is American Life; especially the parts that play an outsize role in defining the rest of it. He draws his life learning from each cardinal point on the compass rose: he grew up in the South, and studied in the East, North, and West—at places like The Museum School Of Fine Arts in Boston and at The California College Of Arts And Crafts in Oakland, under mentorships with notables like Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean— a process that made him a photorealist as much as a visual serialist—his way of recognizing the many faces of American reality, and the many contributors and aspects to its society and spirit. George creates hyper-reality. He spent years in the entertainment industry, painting large-scale backdrops and other heroic representations of communal dreams, using the same techniques he employed later to augment and honor low-income communities and buildings on the West Coast and elsewhere with massive murals of everything from plants to musicians to humpback whales.
His oversized, hyperrealistic paintings of cover art from legendary performers like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Bob Marley, the Eagles and many more bring a fresh perspective on the art form: as iconic, culture-altering milestones that bring inspiration and identity to millions of people around the world.
“More than anything I discover that every album cover has a story behind it that enriches and deepens the understanding of the musical project,” says the artist from his studio in Sausalito. “Those stories often bring a new understanding of the artists and the music they created.”
George Mead continues to work with rock artists nationally and internationally. He is particularly well known for his stadium-size concert backdrops for a long list of major artists including The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Journey, U2, Santana, and Elton John.
In his hyperrealistic style, George Mead accessorizes his 25-square foot paintings with the same shrink wrap and promotional stickers they once came with on the record store shelf. The effect, part Warhol and part Jasper Johns, re-creates the tactile experience of the vinyl record perfectly.
With the baseball card series, George is back to temporal juxtaposition: the card series and their editions, the ever-evolving gallery of players (and the assumptions that lay in their selection for portrayal) are brought into sharper focus when you oversize a player like Jackie Robinson, the man who tore down the color barrier, or choose to paint the raw honesty of men like Cobb, Mantle, or Ruth. Looking at these men and how they lived reveals the change we see around us. Recognizing how there were constants among these changes, some of them worthy of note and even respect, makes the Baseball Card series more than idle decoration. It is an exploration of the American Way, and who gets to speak for it.