Dan McGeehan graduated from The University of Tulsa’s Graphic Design program. Then, after five years as Manager of Publications at University of Chicago Law School, McGeehan became a full-time illustrator. Some of McGeehan’s illustrations are on display in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Gallery, in a free exhibit titled “Humorous Illuminous.”
The “Humorous” aspect of the exhibit becomes evident as soon as one enters the gallery. Some of the pieces have a quirky charm and are built around their title’s puns, such as an illustration of a muscular Secret Service agent in front of a hedge holding a flower and a watering bottle, aptly titled “Guardener”. Another example, aptly titled “Doctor Whooo”, features an owl in a lab coat on the edge of a patient’s bed in a doctor’s office.
The “Illuminous” aspect of the exhibit is a bit more niche.
Many of the pieces on display have their original sketches and multiple steps of their cleanup process on display. Illustrations that McGeehan made for magazines also feature the final magazine cover as part of the display.
These give aspiring illustrators, or anyone with an interest in art, an idea of how much work can go into just one picture and how many changes can happen from the initial sketch to the final product.
Another aspect that helps illuminate the illustrating process is the layout of the exhibit itself.
The layout of the exhibit gives a rough timeline of McGeehan’s career, from some of his earliest published works to his most recent endeavors.
What makes this timeline setup interesting is that, starting in 2007, McGeehan stopped creating his pieces physically, using an airbrush and gouache paint. His newest art is made almost solely in Photoshop. The Gallery is divided in half, with one side attributed to his physical work and one to his digital work.
His style remains constant, but there are subtle changes in the prints themselves: small things like the vibrancy of color and the texture of the paintings bring distinct character to both of his methods.
For an art enthusiast, “Humorous Illuminous” is an interesting look and explanation of how the methods of creating art affect both the art and the artist.
For a casual observer, however, there isn’t much to the exhibit.
Many of the pieces are humorous in nature, but there won’t be much beyond a vibrant style and an initial chuckle for anyone who isn’t willing delve deeper into McGeehan’s methods.