Artist Barry McGee Brings Vibrant Design To The Beats Pill (Photos)

by Robert Anthony

Rock stars and artists have always been natural allies. In the ecosystem of creativity, fun and money, they have a symbiotic relationship.

However, unlike rock stars, artists often jealously guard their creativity, making tantalizing mysteries for those interested in the aura of innovation.

Beats By Dre succeeds at connecting the worlds of music and art better than most.

Initially commissioned for the NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) fair, the official release of Beats x Barry McGee was held this morning at Pancake Epidemic, a monthly breakfast meet and greet for artistic/cultural influencers.

Barry McGee, whose colorful installations helped define the Mission School art movement, has been notoriously unresponsive to brand collaborations, making the Beats x Barry McGee Pill a triumph worthy of the term "special edition."

With Stumptown coffee on tap, the caffeinated affair provided a chance for McGee to discuss what moved him to work with Beats by Dre. Quite simply, Beats by Dre is street enough -- real enough -- for McGee to feel confident associating with the brand.

A brand that cultivates the same authenticity is a perfect match for McGee's urban stylings. As the art world continues its transformation into a pop image-making machine, Barry McGee defines the street artist as cultural icon.

Unusually soft spoken for such a colorfully prolific creator, he was thoughtful as he signed books, Beats Pill speakers and boxes. He is shy, drawing silly mustaches on his portrait, along with providing his signature.

When asked if there was an "aha!" moment, when a light bulb went off, that he realized he could make a living from his art, he hesitated. In a soft voice, he replied, “It's still happening. I am still realizing I can.”

If that means we get to see Barry McGee's art more often, we have Beats By Dre to thank.

Barry McGee is a San Francisco-based artist known for his creative, colorful art installations.

Not only does he work with abstract shapes and vibrant colors, but also frequently with props, such as frames and wood.

When he's not using paint to bring together a mural, he's using a series of small portraits to complete one installation.

For years now, McGee has managed to keep his artwork away from commercial use and brand names.

McGee's work doesn't appear on any brand collaborations other than Beats by Dre.

For this special collaboration, McGee used a trademark geometric design to customize just 200 Beats Pill wireless speakers.

McGee signed the limited edition Pill for lucky attendees at Pancake Epidemic.

Artists are very careful about the way their work is showcased to the masses, but Beats by Dre won McGee over.

Check out the video below for a closer look: