Paul McLean

Paul McLean


I am an artist and writer currently living and working in Bushwick (Brooklyn/NYC). My focus is 4D+ art, systems and theory. For over three decades, I have maintained a robust solo and collective artistic practice, centered in studio production, with extensions in performance, exhibition, community multi-disciplinary arts application and education. My approach has been consistently multi-disciplinary, although my first love will always be painting.

Other practical threads include camera arts for still and moving images, computer-based arts and live art events involving collaboration. I have been an early-adopting user of digital art platforms for production and online presentation. My favored tools for digital pre- and post-production have been Photoshop, Painter, Final Cut and Dreamweaver. Aside from developing my own artist platform/network  (Art for Humans/, I have utilized a variety of complementary platforms to present, promote, document and archive projects online. These include social media (MySpace, flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Slider, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc.) and content management systems (e.g., SquareSpace and Ning). My digital art practice spans printmaking, videography, animation, photography, graphic design, and music. I have engaged in a spectrum of multi-disciplinary and conceptual approaches that have proven effective in installations, events, exhibits and media.

Throughout my artist life I have been the beneficiary of excellent instruction, both formal and informal. The most vital facet of my learning curve derives from relationships with artists, thinkers, scientists and creative practitioners of every type, who come from a tremendous diversity of origins and professional backgrounds. I am a relentless researcher. My method owes much to science, the applicable art-craft traditions, and a native curiosity about the nature of the world, people and the universe we inhabit. Aesthetics, philosophy and theory have come to inform my thinking about the art I make, increasingly so as I've aged. I have also become more interested in the economics of art over time, especially alternate economies. Art is one of handful of fundamental elements in my life, on the same plane as the spiritual, family and love. In its most basic characteristics, art functions as a gift, a transmitter through time zones, and a reminder of what's valuable and meaningful.

My blog is



BIO 2018

I was born in Beckley, West Virginia. My parents were very encouraging of my creative pursuits. I also had support from teachers, family friends and peers, who offered kind words at critical stages in my development. I attended the University of Notre Dame. I started my first creative business in my freshman year (FunkshunArt), making hand-painted clothing, mostly tee shirts. Eventually, I sold these through boutiques like American T-shirt Gallery in NYC, Virtu in Detroit and Commander Salamander in DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art store in Chicago. Along the way, I took my first fine art and art history courses, and began making paintings and doing projects and exhibits. My first art mentor was Professor Don Vogl at ND. He invited me into the practical artist world of visiting galleries, taking art-focused road trips, assembling portfolios and so on.

After graduating, I moved to Santa Fe, NM and committed to art as my career. I took jobs stretching and framing canvases, installing and transporting art, selling art, and writing about it. Throughout the decade I lived in NM, I maintained a steady, prolific studio practice, and cultivated many valuable relationships with artists, dealers, and collectors. I launched my first gallery in my hometown in 1988 (Freedom Gallery), and my second, an artist collective (Regional Standard Arts Project) in Santa Fe in the early 90s. I produced a local art radio program (ArtRadio + ArtWaves) in Santa Fe, and began publishing features on the art scene in local monthlies. I had my first professional solo show at Eidolon Gallery in 1994, served as lead artist for collective expos, and participated in and curated group shows.

In 1995 I traveled to Scotland and was inspired to create a body of work that was exhibited there at An Tuirreann Arts Centre on the Isle of Skye and the Electric Frog in Edinburgh. Returning to the States, I relocated to Nashville, and began a new phase of my career. I showed and sold art through galleries and museums, assembled high-performing 4D art collectives (DDDD and 01), wrote columns for Nashville dailies, weeklies and monthlies, and hosted radio programs broadcast from Vanderbilt University. I began to teach privately and through programs at institutions like Cheekwood and O'More College of Design. My work received recognition from a variety of arts organizations like Tennessee Arts Commission, and sponsorship by businesses such as MCSi, TIAA-CREF, CB Richard Ellis, Woodland Studios, Dreamworks SKG,  Universal Music Group, Ground Zero and many others.

Between 2002 and 2005, I produced the Journeyman Project, which applied the 4D+ arts practicum for solo and collective production in communities ranging from rural to urban, with major projects sited in Eureka (CA) and Austin (TX), and elsewhere. I received support from Americans for the Arts, Morris Graves Foundation, St. Edwards University and others.

In 2006 I was accepted at Claremont Graduate University, where I received my MFA in digital media, and Masters in Arts and Cultural Management, through the Drucker/Ito School of Management. While at CGU, I produced Art for Humans Gallery Chinatown (LA), and consolidated the AFH online network (est. 1999/2000) into one of the most popular artist platforms in the world.

After graduating I began doctoral studies at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland [my PhD studies are currently in progress], and relocated to Bushwick/Brooklyn/NYC in 2010. I exhibited in solo, group and collective shows at Yarger|Strauss Contemporary in Beverly Hills (now Timothy Yarger Fine Art), Silver Shed in Chelsea and SLAG Gallery and Wild Heart Salon in Bushwick (NYC), and David Lusk Gallery Nashville. My work has appeared in art fairs, including Scope (Miami, Berlin, NY), Dependent (NY), LA Art Show, via Y|SFA and Perpetual Art Machine. Four of my early works are included in the Rhizome/New Museum ArtBase collection. Notable affiliations include participation in AIB/Bushwick Open Studios, Reading Group Number One and NOVADS, co-organizing Occupy with Art (2011-12), producing Good Faith Space, and founding Occupational Art School (OAS). Between 2014-16 I wrote the BETA draft of a PhD thesis on 4D+ art. I began painting the work to accompany this text in March 2017.

I have published articles in Brooklyn Rail and Artinfo, and the various projects described above have been covered in many art news periodicals and forums, including artnet, The Art Newspaper, LA Weekly and LA Times. I have participated in panels, symposiums and residencies, facilitated by Chashama/chaNorth (Pine Plains, NY), the Living Theater, Sothebys Institute, the University of Massachusetts, Hyperallergic, Columbia Teachers College and others. I have been a visiting artist at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons, and NY Studio Residency Program.