Billy McQueen

Billy McQueen’s subject matter is largely drawn from domestic scenes of family life and imagery connected to his ancestral land in the Kaingaroa Plains. While his work is quietly biographical and not political – it’s only a starting point for the artist and secondary to his central aim – which is concerned with painterly substance and surface and the illusionistic spaces it can create. McQueen’s paintings are consciously manipulated and reversed, as a way to investigate traditional painting techniques and the materials employed. In this process, abstractions and distortions naturally occur sometimes summoning new and unexpected imagery.

McQueen’s work, while decidedly pictorial in appearance, is concerned with the evocative potential of paint, embracing both the recent history of abstraction alongside broader traditions of narrative painting. His distinctive approach to the language and medium of painting – coupled with the use of photography as a source – allows the artist to create resonant and ambiguous images which shift between the real and imaginary, pushing at the medium’s potential for depth and meaning.

After finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in 1997, Billy worked as a print technician at Manukau Institute of Technology Visual Arts School and as a designer for the Auckland Museum. In 2000 he transitioned into a successful career in advertising winning a number of awards, both nationally and internationally for his work as a creative director. Twelve years and two children later, McQueen returned to Elam to complete a Master of Fine Arts, graduating in 2015 with 1st Class honours.


1997 BFA Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland.
2013 PGDip Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland.
2015 MFA (First Class Honours), Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland.

Solo Shows:

2020  Archive 02, Foenander Galleries, Auckland
2018  Archive,  Antoinette Godkin, Auckland
2016  Abveil,    Antoinette Godkin, Auckland

Group Shows:

2021 Auckland Art Fair
2020 Auckland Virtual Art Fair
2019 Throwing Dirt at The Sun, nkb Gallery
2019, Small Work Salon, nkb Gallery Auckland
2018 Big Pop Up Art Show, Big Pop Studios, Auckland
2018 Disintegrating Form, Arthaus Orakei, Auckland
2018 Moonlight, All Press Gallery, Auckland
2017 Graduate Art Fair, Guangzhou, China
2016 Auckland Art Fair, Auckland
2015 30upstairs, Wellington, Traces. Memories. Ghosts.
2015 Elam Masters Graduation Show.
2015 Railway Gallery, Parnell, One Thing for Certain
2015 Elam Postgraduate Graduation Show
1998 George Fraser Gallery, Terminal Lounge

Auckland City Council, Panmure Queen Street Mural


Wallace Arts Trust
Auckland City Council
Private Collections – New Zealand, Australia, Europe & USA