Mandy McCartin's work has always been concerned with human emotions and interactions in the urban environment.
My working class background, and interest in street culture has informed the imagery I use and the way it is created.
Earlier work concentrated on people living outside comfortable “norms”, characters who I saw in the street and who affected me in ways ranging from joy to sorrow.
But paintings full of emotion and brush strokes were out of step with the prevailing ‘conceptual-intellecto-boredom” vibe, so one day, in a charity shop, I felt a soft toy looking at me and realised that it could convey human emotion in a less direct and challenging way than the previous energetic works. That was the beginning of the “Toys” series. And, yes, they did appeal to people who found my previous work a bit too strong for their delicate sensibilities. And they reined me in and made me paint with more control.
The next series of paintings moved organically along - I wanted the expressionism and the graffiti back, but I was feeling disenchanted with the human race generally. I found watching urban animals fed my soul, and I liked the way they were positioned alongside the crap and detritus of a big city. I did a Squirrel, and the rest of the Urban Animals followed. They are a bridge between the Toys and the Urban People.
Feeling increasingly alienated from mainstream society, and increasingly disturbed and crushed by human behaviour, I started to make paintings of more exotic animals, some endangered, surrounded and imprisoned by urban graffiti. Wild nature being forced into a small corner by the burgeoning and uncaring human population of the planet. I felt that humans who are sensitive and thoughtful are in a similar position - being destroyed by the capitalist clamour to occupy and exploit. I fear for them, and for myself.
The new work will be trying to pull together my feelings about being human in the 21st Century - watch this space.