In December 2018 Mackenzie Thorpe celebrated 30 years since he moved to Richmond in Yorkshire and began to establish himself as a professional artist. Since then his uplifting artwork, which is rooted in authenticity and always carries a message of hope, has taken him from the shipyards of Middlesbrough to the status of internationally acclaimed artist. His anniversary year saw his work celebrated with a public sculpture on the banks of the river Tees where he grew up, with his appointment as Official Artist to the Tour de Yorkshire across the hills and dales where he made his name, and over the oceans to the shores of America and Japan, where his atmospheric and poignant pictures are as highly acclaimed as they are here in the UK.
In the early 1990s, Mackenzie Thorpe set the art world alight and that flame is still burning as brightly as ever. A global art phenomenon, he has reached out across every conceivable boundary by drawing on the universal themes that unite us all; love and isolation, life and death, joy and sorrow, despair and hope, as well as his personal pride in our industrial heritage. He is credited with changing the face of art publishing in the UK and he has created one of the most recognisable and acclaimed oeuvres in contemporary art.
His original paintings, published works and sculpture are held in private and corporate collections across the globe. His collectors come from all walks of life and include famous names from the worlds of sport, music, film and politics such as author JK Rowling, actor Tom Hardy and even HM Queen Elizabeth II. He has also undertaken many prestigious commissions for clients ranging from The Andre Agassi Foundation and the Elton John Aids Foundation to Princess Anne and William Hague.
His journey from dyslexic child ostracised by his peers to international artist exhibiting worldwide has been both extraordinary and inspirational. Born into a working class family in Middlesbrough, struggling through school with an undiagnosed learning difficulty and doing manual work in the local shipyard by the age of 15, Mackenzie defied the expectations of society with a combination of pioneering style and unbridled passion. He now uses his art to regularly support local, national and international charities. All of his charitable work relates back to important issues depicted in his art such as disadvantaged children, loneliness and hope. In 2019 he received an honorary doctorate from Seisa University in recognition of both his artistic endeavours and charity work, and was awarded the freedom of the city of Middlesborough.
Frequently appearing on our TV screens and in the national press, Mackenzie has become something of a national treasure. His whimsical approach to both his art and his life intensifies the impact of his beautiful and atmospheric paintings and sculpture, and reinforces both his integrity as an artist and his supreme gift for communication.
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