Pete McKee unveils a brand new style in 2020, removing his signature black outlines which have been part of his trademark, popular style since he first began painting in 2005

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the planned and sold out physical exhibition in Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery has been cancelled.

To reveal this new style of work, Pete’s latest exhibition Eight New Paintings will be free to view as a virtual online exhibition from 9 December – 01 January at

Over the course of 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, so much has changed for everyone. The characters in Pete McKee’s artwork are no exception either. Black lines, which derive from his iconic graphic, pop-art style with roots in cartoon work and illustration, have been removed to allow for a more painterly technique.

While keeping up a fantastic resource of art workshops online, teaching thousands to draw cartoons, behind closed doors Pete’s style has evolved, painting his characters with more detail, which in turn helps the viewer to imagine more in-depth personalities, bringing his relatable, everyday characters to life in a more gritty and realistic way.

The Eight New Paintings exhibition will allow the public to view Pete’s new body of work for the first time, which continues to reflect his interest in exploring working-class life, nostalgia, and social and political themes, in a completely new way.

As we draw towards the end of an eventful and unprecedented 2020, Pete McKee unveils this bold new style with a virtual exhibition available online, free of charge, from the 09 December to 01 January.

Each of Pete’s new paintings offer a snapshot into the worlds of the characters portrayed. These are scenes and people that most of us recognise, for whom we can easily imagine a backstory. Each painting also comments on or poses questions about the lives of the characters portrayed in these paintings. For example, Return of the Waltzer Boy, depicting an ageing fairground worker, invites questions about who this character is, who looks as if he has as many stories to tell as the lines painted in his face. In There’s No Place Like Home, a elderly woman living in a care home, glances out of her bedroom window. Although all of the work in this exhibition was painted before the pandemic, this painting is particularly poignant at this moment in time and invites questions such as: ‘who is this woman and how long will she have to wait for her next visit?’

Watch a film of Pete talking about getting to grips with his new style.

Pete McKee says: “I’m so excited to reveal my new style in this exhibition. Since This Class Works, my last exhibition in 2018, I began experimenting with how I could use my materials differently so I could evolve my work. I realised that the black lines I often use had become a boundary and I wanted to see what would happen if I took them away, and it changed everything.”