In fact, Margo in Margate lives in Ramsgate. But prolific artist Margo McDaid likes to maintain a slightly separate persona for her work, and the alliteration has obvious appeal.
Words Pendle Harte
She’s been selling her paintings and prints since she moved from London to the Kent coast more than a decade ago, but now her work is on show in London at Anthropologie’s new Islington store. So it’s Margo in Islington really. McDaid used to be a teacher in an inner London primary school, until it got too much and she recognised that what she really wanted to be doing was painting. A move away from the city enabled a new start, and she started painting full time: her simple, graphic paintings are inspired by ‘colour, vintage shirts, illustrations in children’s books, folk art and outsider art’.
She mostly focuses on faces in oil or acrylic on canvas, with bold strokes and pops of colour creating a simple, striking signature and has exhibited widely in Margate, with her work sold at the Turner Contemporary shop too. Her characters are called things like ‘girl in an orange jumper’ and ‘girl with striped hair’ or ‘girls with blue earrings’ and while they share a similar look, each one has a unique character. They’re colourful and expressive, with a wide appeal. Alongside paintings and prints she sells a range of figurative hand-painted vintage plates.
Margo draws every day and particularly enjoys hearing “that looks like me!” when people view her work, which reflects her love of all things bright and optimistic, as well as her life by the sea which “makes the colour even more powerful”. She thinks art should bring us daily joy, which her vivid and expressive prints and painting surely do. Her coastal lifestyle has given rise to portraits of people in swimming caps, gaining her a following with the wild swimming brigade. If you’re in Margate, or Ramsgate – or Islington, look out for her.