Artist Interview: Painter James Mackenzie

It’s the first Artist Interview for 2014! I recently came across painter James Mackenzie on Twitter and I love his skyscapes. Such bold colors and textures. But he also has abstract landscapes, expressionist pieces, and even some life drawing (I went with a red theme here, but he does work in a varitey of colors.) He’s based in the UK, but you can find his art online at Mackenzie Art or purchase select works through Saatchi.
Apocalypse – Red © James Mackenzie 19″ x 19″ Acrylic

1. How did you get started in your craft? (using your media)

I have always had a passion for art and studied for a Degree in Fine Art at Hertfordshire University. After University I worked as a portrait artist for a few years before studying for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education to become a secondary school Art teacher. I found this to be hugely rewarding, giving me the chance to share my love for art and helping to develop students skills.

I continued to experiment with a range of different styles and painting techniques during my time teaching and I have developed a ‘natural’ style of land/seascape painting about which I am now quite passionate.

Much as I loved teaching, I have now decided, after 7 years to, focus wholly on my art career and I am now a full time artist, working daily in my studio in Essex.

2. What has been inspiring/influencing your work lately?

My new ‘natural’ and quite spontaneous painting style allows my subconscious to take hold and I am able to create land/seascapes, which previously existed only as memories or unconscious recollection.

St Oswald’s Fire © James Mackenzie Acrylic on canvas – 16″ x 12″

3. Who are your favorite artists in your field?

One of my favourite masters would have to be Turner. His sunsets are breathtaking and he was one of the first expressionist painters. The thought of him strapping himself to the masts of ships in a storm to get the ‘feeling’ is incredible.

4. What is your favorite customer quote or story?

Last year I showed some of my work at the ‘Show us your Art’ exhibition in Middlesbourough, where paintings were on display in various public spaces throughout the city. I received some very positive feedback from members of the public and I particularly loved a comment from someone about my painting ‘St Oswald’s Fire’. The painting was purely from the imagination, although it was inspired by my memories of the Northeast coastline and in particular the long distance path called St Oswald’s Way. He said that he recognized the part of the coast, which I had painted, as one, which he knew well and particularly loved!

5. What is your favorite piece of art or fine craft that you own?

Out of the Sun © James Mackenzie 38″ x 26″ Acrylic

Having, until recently been an impoverished art teacher, I haven’t managed to build up much of a collection but one piece of art which I have kept and treasure is a picture of a butterfly painted by the youngest of my three nieces.

I was painting and drawing with all three of them in the garden at the height of last summer and at the end of the day she presented me with her picture, which I have kept and treasure. Not sure it fits the category of ‘fine art’ but it was I am sure produced and given with love.