Hugo McCloud

Hugo McCloud



Hugo McCloud is a multi-dimensional artist who utilizes an alchemical approach to transmute untraditional materials into beautifully crafted pieces of art. His work questions the boundaries of aesthetic beauty, by coaxing out unique imagery from materials that would otherwise be deemed ugly, unusable or discarded. The artist incorporates a chemical oxidation process that corrodes, contaminates and transforms, enabling his work to amass a visually arresting oeuvre of paintings and objects.

A self- taught artist, McCloud sources many of his tools and materials from ordinary items used in construction. Such materials include copper sheets, wire clothes, tar-paper, as well as other discarded construction based materials, which are traditionally overlooked as usable materials. McCloud’s design and construction background, combined with his urban architectural influences of squatter camps, shanties, barrios and natural decay, has helped to create his own distinct and unique artistic vocabulary.

Hugo relates the transformation of the materials in his work, to the journey of human evolution and the ever-enduring quest for self-enlightenment. He believes his art is a representation of the symbiotic relationship between the materials, textures, colors, and the viewer. Turning the ordinary into visual spectical. We accept the natural cyclical process of production and decay. A seed is planted, a flower blooms, and shrivels back into the earth. There is an idea of the flower being the most beautiful part of the plant, the rest forgotten and discarded. McCloud directs his focus to the scraps, the decomposing, the un-developed. McCloud believes by making use of recovered resources, which are usually out of their prime or in unusable shape, he allows these materials to spark a dynamic dialogue between the viewers and objects. - MyArtGuides


Born in Palo Alto California in 1980, Hugo McCloud is one of the most prolific young artists working today. Self-taught with a background in industrial design, McCloud’s practice is unrestricted by classical, academic tenets. His journey starts by utilizing an alchemical approach. Using discarded items he incorporates a chemical oxidation process, manipulating overlooked materials such as copper sheets, wire clothes, tarpaper and other discarded construction based materials. Drawing inspiration from the rawness and decay of the urban landscape, McCloud creates rich, large-scale abstract paintings and sculptural objects by fusing unconventional industrial materials—tar, bitumen, aluminum sheeting and oxidized steel plates —with traditional pigment and woodblock printing techniques. His approach is instinctive and physical, often working on the floor, sanding, hammering and torching his materials until a total metamorphosis takes place. Driven by an enduring desire to uncover beauty in the overlooked and abandoned, McCloud’s work pushes the boundaries of utilitarian materials and confronts aesthetic perceptions. 

McCloud has a way of redirecting the focus of beauty to all that is decomposing and undeveloped allowing it to shine in a new light. The viewers are able to appreciate the spark the composition of the materials dialogue to them. The material corrodes, contaminates and transforms, which guide the design process. His approach is instinctive and physical, often working on the floor, sanding, hammering and torching his materials until a total metamorphosis takes place.

Hugo was part of the Young Curators, New Ideas IV at Meulensteen in New York. With a design and construction background, McCloud counts squatter camps, shanties, barrios and natural decay as his urban architectural influences.

In 2015, McCloud was the subject of solo exhibitions at The Arts Club, London and at Fondazione 107 in Turin, Italy. McCloud was most recently featured in the group exhibition, A Constellation at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

Hugo McCloud lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. - Ocula





Selected Articles and Reviews



  • Biswas, Allie. “Hugo McCloud: ‘I Respect the Beauty in the Things That Are Overlooked’,”Studio International, January 2, 2016.
  • Deutsch, Anna. “A Quality Cut with Hugo McCloud,” The Window, March 1, 2016.
  • Jurgensen, John. “2017 Resolutions: Cultural Goals For the New Year,” The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2016.
  • McMahon, Katherine. “Scenes from Art Basel, Miami Beach, Part 5”, December 2, 2016.
  • “Looking Ahead: December/January 2017.” Surface Magazine, November, 2016.
  • Loos, Ted. “Righting Wrongs and Generating Attention for Art of the African Diaspora.” The New York Times, October 16, 2016.
  • Sargent, Antwaun. “The Welder’s Paintbrush,” Cultured Magazine, December, 2016.
  • “Studio Visit with Hugo McCloud in Bushwick, Brooklyn,” Gallery Gurls, February 23, 2016.


  • “Art: A Constellation,” The New Yorker, December 2015.
  • “Art Scene: Hugo McCloud,” Architectural Digest, December 2015.
  • Burris, Asia. “Watch Melo-X’s ‘McCloud in Process,’ Short Film,” Saint Heron, April 9, 2015.
  • Evans, Ayana. “Hugo McCloud,” Gallerina Diaries, February 25, 2015.
  • “In NYC This Weekend? Here Are 4 Art Exhibitions You Must See,” Blackbook, February 2015.
  • Kim, Deanna. “The Best Art Exhibitions to See This Month,” Complex, February 7, 2015.
  • “McCloud in Process by Melo-X,” Purple Fashion Magazine, April 4, 2015.
  • McKeough, Tim. “Andre Mellon Likes Drawing Rooms,” Introspective Magazine, September 14, 2015.
  • Miller, M.H. “Hugo McCloud joins Sean Kelly Gallery,” ArtNews, January 7, 2015.
  • Pasquarella, Sheri. “’Palindrome’ at Sean Kelly, 30 Jan 2015 – 14 Mar 2015,” SLP, February 13, 2015.
  • Schoefer-Wulf, Maxine. “Hugo McCloud,” Little Paper Planes Shop Blog, May 25, 2015.
  • Simmon, William J. “Action painting: The body electric,” Christie’s, February 2015.
  • “The Year in Black Art: January 2015,” Culture Type, December 31, 2015.
  • “The Curator Cure,” Art Forum, November 16, 2015.
  • “Top Exhibitions Opening This Week In New York (January 26 – February 1),” Whitewall, January 2015.
  • “Yankee Artists Help London Arts Club Thrive,” The Observer, September 3, 2015.

  • Anderson, Charlotte and David Bazner. “10 GQ-Approved Artists You Should Know at Art Basel Miami: Hugo McCloud,” GQ, December 2014.
  • Anderson, Stacey. “Hugo McCloud: Artist by Design,” The New York Times, May 28, 2014.
  • “August in Pictures: From Pre-History to Post-Everything,” Art Haps, August 6, 2014.
  • Boatright, Kristen. “VIDEO: Hugo McCloud Takes His Place in the Art World,” Artinfo, June 6, 2014.
  • “'From Pre-History to Post-Everything' opens at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York,” 
  • “From Pre-History to Post-Everything,” UnDo.Net, June 26, 2014.
  • Makoma, Portia. “From Pre-History to Post-Everything,” The, July 23 2014.
  • Shiffman, Allyson. “Hugo McCloud Is On a Journey,” W Magazine, May 9, 2014.
  • Silver, Leigh. “Interview: Hugo McCloud Talks Inventing a Whole New Way to
  • Paint,” Complex, May 10, 2014.
  • Small, Rachel. “A Room Full of Roof: Hugo McCloud,” Interview, May 16, 2014.
  • “Various artists, From Pre-History to Post-Everything, Sean Kelly New York, USA,” Aesthetica, July 2014.


  • Jones, Allison Channing. The Next Generation: Hugo McCloud, Kambui Olujimi and E.J. Hill, The Studio Museum in Harlem Magazine, Winter/Spring 2013, p. 34.
  • “Pattern Recognition Opens at MoCADA,” Huffington Post, September 25, 2013.
  • Sutton, Benjamin. “Looking for the Tradition of Black Abstraction at MoCADA,” Blouin Art Info, August 5, 2013.
  • Thorne, James. “Pattern Recognition at MoCADA,” Cool Hunting, July 18, 2013.


Selected Publications


  • Brielmayer, Isolde. Hugo McCloud: Paintings New York: Sean Kelly, 2016.
  • Martin, Courtney J. Four Generations: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art New York, 2016.
  • Phaidon Editors. Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting. London, 2016.
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