Meet Cynthia Mackenzie…
She’s a London-based painter and mixed media artist who’s the focus for this instalment of Fuse Profiles. Cynthia’s art is fuelled by her fascination with conflicting perspectives and the aesthetic of industrial corrosion. We spoke of Nepal, auction houses, and the intimate relationship between artist and viewer. Let’s get to know Cynthia…
Why did you choose painting?
I paint because it feels most natural, like the brush and medium are an extension of myself so I’m free to focus on expressing.
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
Coffee 100%, the stronger the better!
Where’s your favourite place to go in London and why?
This is a difficult question! One of my favourite places to go is the Tuesday evening auction at Gardner Galleries. The crowd is diverse so the people watching is amazing, but what I really love is imagining who owned the items being auctioned, the homes they might have lived in, and where they’re going next. You can’t help but share in the joy of the winners, feel disappointed with the unsuccessful and get caught up in the competition between the two. It’s a unique energy.
What’s your best dance move?
Ha, ha, ha! I can do a pretty mean chicken wing!
How do you want people to feel when they view your work?
I don’t want to steer the viewer in any specific emotional direction, I just want to evoke feeling. I believe the relationship between the artist and viewer is profoundly intimate. I attempt to create that connection by pouring my thoughts and feelings into my work and leaving the space for the viewer to assign their own.
If you could book a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Easy! I would buy a ticket to Nepal to attend the Tahir Festival, specifically the second day of the festival where they honour dogs!
What is your favourite subject to put in your work?
I have a serious love for rust and corrosion. There’s something about it I find beautiful so it frequently shows up in my work.
What’s your favourite piece of personal work?
I’m extremely critical of my own work and can find success and faults in each of them. I don’t think I’ve produced my favourite piece yet but I have one I enjoyed creating more than most. When my son was about 5 years old he said, “Mom you’ve never made a painting for me!” This was the first time he had ever shown interest in what I do, in fact frequently both of my kids used to tell people they wished they could stay home all day and do nothing like their Mom! Ha!
I asked what he would like me to paint for him, expecting something juvenile like a tree or a favourite cartoon character. He thought for a moment and responded with, “I’d like a painting of the Black Pearl in stormy waters.” I laughed to myself the whole time I worked on the piece.
Example of work from another artist I admire and why?
I really admire artist Mel McCuddin. I love his process of smearing random paint all over his substrate and staring at it until he sees something.
His work is whimsical but there’s a dark side to it, I like the contradiction of that. When interviewed he seems approachable and lighthearted, and some of the titles of his work make me like him even more. I love the humour in it.