The Artwork of Joe McGown


A Dream Within a Dream - Edgar Allen Poe

Joe MacGown creates a world that balances the real with the fantastical.  His artwork streams a new consciousness that is neither locked into the surrealism of Salvador Dali nor the spiritual awakenings of William Blake’s Romantic age.  It stands alone, a world created by a man who can see the outer perimeters of our universe through his own flowing eye and mind.

Where others see the universe as flat, plain, and stale, MacGown sees the “other” world, where there are no boundaries, no rules or limits.  A vast expansion of wonderment that leaves the senses buzzed in amazement. There is no need for limits in the art of Joe MacGown.

He has seen a universe that is not about science, mythology or spiritualism.  It is about a fusion of all matter, ideas and philosophies.   It is the power of all ideas collapsing into one single organism, free of politics, political correctness and fluff; just the reality of non-reality.

Each piece stands alone to shatter the concept of simple reality and transport the viewer into another level of consciousness and thought.  Study each drawing carefully and gaze at the wonder of artistic genius.  See the light of your enlightenment grow.

Joseph St. John

(Please take the time to read Joe MacGown’s Artist Statement after reviewing his artwork.)

 Joe A. MacGown
Artist Statement

I am a self-taught artist originally from Maine, but now living in Starkville, MS. I have worked at the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University as a research technician/scientific illustrator since 1988.

Throughout the last 30 years, I have continued to develop my own surrealistic drawing style, which I refer to as “Neogothic Surrealism” or “Subconscious Meandering.”  I predominately work in black ink, using fine-tipped Koh-i-noor Rapidograph pens, but also do mixed media color works.  My drawings are highly detailed, with many layers built up by crosshatching, stippling, and other methods. The structure of my artwork is predicated on the drawing or painting of random shapes, after which I then draw shapes in the negative spaces created by the first shapes, and so forth.  Subject matter is not a stumbling block because everywhere I look I see interesting things.  For example, it should be quite apparent that I work in entomology, as my art is often intermixed with various insectoid body parts.  Similarly, it should be obvious that I have read a great deal of science fiction.  All of my observations are thrown into my mind where they are intermixed with other memories, thoughts, and ideas.  They are later expressed in random ways in my artwork.  When I begin a drawing, I usually have no preconceived idea of what I am going to do, other than at most a minimal idea or a basic shape.  I typically do not do underlying pencil sketches, but instead start working directly with the pen or paint.  This allows for more spontaneity and subconscious flow, which is the basis for all of my surreal art.  My themes tend to be many-fold, as I do many types of artwork, but recent work centers on the interrelationship of the environment and all forms of the animate and inanimate.

My work has been shown in various international exhibitions in Canada, Amsterdam, Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and in the US in Chicago, Memphis, and numerous locations in Mississippi. Additionally, my art has been published in international books, magazines, scientific journals, newspapers, blogs, and other media sources.  To view examples of my artwork, please visit my website at

To view more examples of MacGown’s work, watch the video below.