Mackenzie Thorpe

Click here to view a Biography of this artist.

BORN  1956 Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire UK

STUDIES

Middlesbrough College of Art, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
Byam Shaw School of Art, London

Background

I was the oldest of seven children, born into a three-bedroom council house in Middlesbrough.  My father was a labourer, with no trade or qualifications.

There was no luxury. Three pennies a week would be my pocket money – if I got any. But at that age you don’t know you’re poor. I thought where I lived was the biggest town in the world. Like any other kid does.

I’ve always drawn. And when I drew, I’d go into my own world. I’d spend my time getting cigarette packets, unwrapping them, flattening them and drawing on them. I’d just draw and draw and draw. I knew I was going to be a painter. I think I was eleven when I saw, ‘Lust for Life’, the film about Van Gogh. I really identified with Van Gogh, especially in the scene where everyone is shouting at him, making fun of him. That sort of thing happened to me all the time because I didn’t fight back. Nobody understood me. And I didn’t even know what it was they couldn’t understand.

I left school at fifteen. I couldn’t get any qualifications because of my dyslexia. I did all sorts of jobs, working on ships up and down the Tees, often on the dole. It was a bad time for me, and I was really unhappy. One day a friend suggested I go along to the art college.

My application form was terrible, the spelling was all wrong and it was clear enough that I couldn’t write essays. But I had literally thousands of drawings. At that time I used to carry an old school blackboard around on my back. I fixed a drawing board onto it, and some haversack straps. I was out at six in the morning drawing in the parks, everywhere. And because I had this huge pile of work there was no problem at the college – I was in!

I had no confidence at all when I started there. If somebody had said I was blue I’d have believed them. I put all my gear in a bag with ‘Karate’ written on the side so people would think I was some kind of martial arts expert and leave me alone!

Seeing the paintings in the Tate Gallery for the first time changed my whole way of thinking. From them on I just ate and drank modern art. Rothko, especially, is one of my real heroes. I realised how important it was to put myself, Mackenzie Thorpe, into my paintings. When I first set up the Art haus shop, things were very difficult again. There were problems with money and a lot of local people were putting down my work. That’s when I did the first square sheep’. It just came to me, I don’t know why, but I knew straight away why it was square. Sexism, racism, homophobia, bigotry, conformity, that’s what it represented. Soon though, the sheep came to mean something different, to do with my work, family, my wife and kids. My family is one of the biggest influences on me now.  I’ll draw a picture and it’ll be so bright,  I’ll like it so much that I’ll call it ‘Owen’ or ‘Chloe’ or Susan, because I want them to have it, its for them.

I work here in my shop, with a big wide window.  Everyone can see in, see what I do –

there are no tricks! It’s not a gift from God, I’m just a normal bloke doing my job, like anybody else. Sometimes my life has been a dark tunnel, but a dark tunnel can be very productive.  You’ve got to do your best to come out at the other end.  I’m fighting all the time in my pictures.  But there’s lots of fun in them to.  All sorts of bad things have gone on, but I’m here, I’ve survived.

I believe that there is hope, and that you can be happy if you work at it.
If you see a flower, look at it, paint it – but don’t pick it, don’t hurt it!
That’s the kind of innocence I’m trying to get across.

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

Teesside University ‘Middlesbrough Murals’, Middlesbrough, England 2011
Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Middlesbrough, England 2010
Heart Institute at Cincinnati Childrens Memorial Hospital, Illinois 2009
Garoon Science Center at JCC of Chicago, Lake Zurich, Illinois 2009
Saga Prefectural Museum, Saga, Japan 2008
Fukuoka Prefectural Museum, Fukuoka, Japan 2008
Kumamoto Prefectural Museum, Kumamoto City, Japan 2008
Kagoshima Prefectural Museum, Kagoshima, Japan 2008
Christchurch Arts Centre- Monumental Sculpture Installation, Christchurch, New Zealand 2007
Mill Creek Park – Monumental Sculpture Installation, Kansas City, Misssouri 2006
Leddy-Voulkos Art Centre, Kansas City, Misssouri 2006
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England 2001

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

1984    The Last Chance Centre, London
1986    The 181 Gallery, London
1990    The Escape Gallery, London
1991    St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
1992    St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
1993    Kings Head Hotel, Richmond, Yorkshire
1993    The Glass House Gallery, Yorkshire
1994    The Halcyon Gallery, Selfridges, London
1995    The Phoenix Gallery, Selfrides, London
1995    Halcyon Gallery, Birmingham, England, 1998, 2002
1995    Allerton Castle, Knaresborough, Yorkshire
1995    The Soan Gallery, London
1996    Halcyon Gallery, Birmingham, England
1996    Ozten Zeki Gallery, London
1996    Art Connoisseur Gallery, London
1997    Hexton Gallery, New York
1997    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
1998    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
1998    R. Roberts Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
1998    Hanson Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1998    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
1998    Images Fine Art, Napa Valley, CA
1998    Kenneth Behm Galleries, Seattle, WA
1999    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
1999    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
1999    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
1999    Gallery One, Denver, CO
2000    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
2000    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
2000    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2000    Hanson Shaker Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000    Editions Limited Gallery, Indianapolis, IN
2000    Gallery One, Denver, CO
2000    Galerie Zuger, Aspen, CO
2001    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
2001    R. Roberts Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
2001    Hanson Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2001    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
2001    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2001    Hanson Shaker Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001    Editions Limited Gallery, Indianapolis, IN
2001    Galerie Zuger, Aspen, CO
2001    Charles Anthony Gallery, Vail, CO
2002    Hanson Gallery, Sausalito, CA
2002    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
2002    Hanson Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2002    Gallery One, Denver, CO
2002    Charles Anthony Gallery, Vail, CO
2003    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2003    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2003    Pop International, New York, New York
2003    Fingerhut Gallery, La Jolla, California
2004    Fishers Fine Arts, Auckland, New Zealand
2004    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2004    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2004    Gallery One, Denver, CO
2004    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
2005    Fishers Fine Arts, Auckland, New Zealand
2005    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2005    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2005    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2005    Pop International, New York, New York
2005    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2006    Fishers Fine Arts, Auckland, New Zealand
2006    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2006    Onessimo Fine Art, Palm Beach, FL
2006    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2006    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2006    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2007    Fishers Fine Arts, Auckland, New Zealand
2007    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2007    Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, Australia
2007    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2007    R. Roberts Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
2007    Fingerhut Gallery, La Jolla, California
2007    Gallery One, Denver, CO
2007    Hanson Gallery, Carmel, CA
2008    Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, Australia
2008    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2008    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2008    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2008    Pop International, New York, New York
2008    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2009    Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, Australia
2009    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2009    Onessimo Fine Art, Palm Beach, FL
2009    Angela King Gallery, New Orleans, LOU
2009    Off The Wall, Houston, TX
2009    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2009    Gallery 27, London, UK
2010    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2010    Artisan Fine Art, London, UK
2010    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2010    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2010    R. Roberts Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
2011    Atlas Galleries, Chicago, IL
2011    Onessimo Fine Art, Palm Beach, FL
2011    Off The Wall, Houston, TX
2011    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2011    Pop International, New York, New York
2012    Onessimo Fine Art, Palm Beach, FL
2012    Off The Wall, Houston, TX
2012    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2012    P&C Fine Art, Georgetown, DC
2012    Arthaus Gallery, Richmond, UK
2012    Rennies Gallery, Liverpool, UK
2012    Howarth Gallery, Lancashire, UK
2013    Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2013    Ron Epskamp Gallery, New Zealand
2013    Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, Australia
2013    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2014    Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, Australia
2014    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

1985    The Tom Allen Centre, London
1986    West Ham Town Hall, London
1990    The Ginger Gallery,  Bristol
1991    The Laguna Art Festival, Laguna Beach, CA
1992    The Highgate Gallery, London
1992    The Blackheath Gallery, London
1993    The Blackheath Gallery, London
1996    Artexpo Los Angeles, Los Angeles
1997    Tressors Art Fair , Singapore
1997    Artexpo New York, New York
1998    Artexpo New York, New York
1999    Artexpo New York, New York
2000    Artexpo New York, New York
2001    Artexpo New York, New York
2002    Artexpo New York, New York
2002    Kaleidoscope Gallery, Mission Viejo, CA
2002    Peabody Fine Art, Menlo Park, CA
2002    Ann Jackson Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2003    Fine Art Forum, New York, New York
2004    Fine Art Forum, New York, New York
2005    Art Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2005    Art Sydney, NSW, Australia
2005    Chicago Contemporary Classic, Chicago, Illinois
2005    Tokyo Art Collection, Tokyo, Japan
2006    Art Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2006    Art Sydney, NSW, Australia
2006    Art Miami, Miami, FL
2007    Art Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2007    Art Sydney, NSW, Australia
2007    Art Miami, Miami, FL

COMMISSIONS AND HONORS

1995    Allerton Castle Exhibition Largest one-man show ever held in Northern England – Commissioned to create a series of hand-pulled serigraphs for European market
1996    Artexpo Los Angeles Selected as official artist for show poster and catalog cover – Commissioned to create second series of hand-pulled serigraphs for international market
1996    Elton John Aids Foundation Commission – Holiday card design
1997    Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, Commission – Save The Children Fund  British Dyslexia Foundation Commission – Holiday card design
1998    William Hague, British Conservative Party Leader – Holiday card design
2002    Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, Grand Slam for Children’s Fundraiser
2004    Art of Telethon 7, Perth, WA
2006    Art of Telethon 7, Perth, WA
2007    Art of Telethon 7, Perth, WA
2008    Art of Telethon 7, Perth, WA
2009    Art of Telethon 7, Perth, WA
2009    William Hague, British Conservative Party Leader – Holiday card design
2011    Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Permanent Sculpture Commission
2012    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – Original pastel to celebrate Jubilee

COLLECTORS

Bill Wyman, Bass Guitarist, The Rolling Stones
Cameron Mackintosh, Musical Director, Writer Producer
William Hague, British Conservative Party Leader
David Duvall, Professional Golfer

Click here to view Exhibitions featuring this artist.

Mackenzie Thorpe Children’s Charity Soirée

Harvey Galleries warmly invites you and your guest to attend a Children’s Charity Soirée in support of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Please join us at: Harvey Galleries SEAFORTH 515 Sydney Road, Seaforth … read more →

Mackenzie Thorpe – The Good, the Bad and Me

British born artist Mackenzie Thorpe is bringing his reflective exhibition of Wild West inspired images to TVH Gallery Opening on 14th November to 28th November 2014. The exhibition kicked off … read more →

Mackenzie Thorpe TVH Exhibition 2013

Mackenzie Thorpe is one of those “rock-star” artists. The kind that gets swamped with fans asking for signatures and gets pointed at on the street – “Is that Mackenzie Thorpe?” … read more →

Xmas TVH Exhibition 2012

Starting on the 1st of December the gallery is doing their very own 12 days of Christmas. Each day will feature one of 12 artists. The entire 36 piece collection … read more →

Brisbane Art Show 2008

The inaugural Weekend Australian Art Brisbane will take place at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank from Friday 30 May – Sunday 1 June 2008, with First Night, … read more →