Ryan MacKeen, widely recognized by his graffiti pseudonym “Case,” stands as a preeminent figure in the realm of Canadian contemporary urban art. Hailing from the vibrant metropolis of Toronto, Case initially gained prominence as a remarkable street artist, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s creative landscape. His street murals, bearing the distinctive graffiti tag “CASE,” have been meticulously documented and featured in a plethora of books, magazines, online platforms, and documentaries.
Case emerged as a pivotal force during the graffiti renaissance of the 1990s in Toronto, significantly contributing to the elevation of the city’s graffiti milieu to a position of legitimacy and recognition. Together with his contemporaries, he played a vital role in securing the acknowledgement and legality of numerous graffiti landmarks across Toronto. A graduate of Sheridan’s esteemed Classical Animation program, Case seamlessly transitioned his artistic prowess into directing animated and live-action music videos for a slew of prominent recording artists.
As the 2000s unfolded, MacKeen’s creative horizons expanded beyond the confines of graffiti, encompassing an eclectic array of themes such as landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits, all meticulously crafted using the medium of spray paint. This medium lends a distinctive character to his artistic technique, characterized by impressionistic dabs, ethereal blurs, and intricate drips of layered aerosol.
Throughout his illustrious career, MacKeen’s works have garnered national and international acclaim, gracing prestigious exhibitions including those at The Royal Ontario Museum, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Cutlog New York, The Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art Hollywood, and the Armoury Show NYC.
Currently calling Vancouver, British Columbia home, MacKeen draws profound significance from his diverse body of work. Although his artistic repertoire spans an array of styles and contexts, a unifying thread of purpose and meaning runs through each genre. His landscapes stand as vivid interpretations of the bustling urban landscapes of Toronto and Vancouver, while his cityscapes artfully capture the perpetual ebb and flow of humanity within modern urban centers. The portraits he creates pay homage to personal influences, encompassing revered graffiti artists from the 80s, former landlords, and distinguished Canadian celebrities.
Moreover, MacKeen’s foray into 3D printed sculptures stems from the fertile ground of his experience as an animator and character designer in the realm of graffiti murals. This intriguing convergence of animation and urban art has birthed a captivating synergy, propelling his creative expression into a realm that marries multiple dimensions and forms.
In essence, Ryan “Case” MacKeen’s artistic odyssey is a dynamic narrative of evolution and innovation, a journey that reflects the evolution of graffiti from the streets to prestigious galleries, and an enduring dedication to capturing the essence of contemporary urban existence in its myriad forms.