Mackenzie’s Middlesbrough Murals to debut at Teesside University, the world renowned artist Mackenzie Thorpe is holding an exhibition in the very centre of Middlesbrough at Teesside University.
Honorary graduate Mackenzie is creating eight new and unique pieces for the special event. Mackenzie had a huge hit with a show last year at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum – but he has always wanted to show his work at the heart of the town in which he was born and which has been an integral influence on his art.
In 2010 Mackenzie became an honorary graduate of Teesside University, accepting a Doctor of Arts degree. With a new exhibition space built into the University reception in Middlesbrough Tower, the idea was born to fulfil Mackenzie’s dream of bringing his work into the heart of the community that inspires him.
Mackenzie Thorpe’s work has been shown all over the world including the United States, Japan and Australia – and in some of London’s most exclusive galleries. But his dream has always been to show his work in Middlesbrough.
And he was so delighted to be invited by Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Henderson CBE to put on a show at the University; he decided to create a suite of original artworks for the exhibition.
The work currently has the working title of the Middlesbrough Murals but Mackenzie is keeping their content close to his chest.
‘I wanted to create something new and fresh, something that would celebrate the fact that this is a landmark exhibition for me. But I don’t want to reveal too much as the work is changing all the time.
‘Having an exhibition in my home that is about my home town is a very special honour. Middlesbrough is inside me and always has been but this new work will be particularly poignant for me.
‘The people of Middlesbrough see themselves in my work and people can visit this exhibition in the centre of the town and walk to see landmarks like the Transporter Bridge.’
Mackenzie Thorpe with wife SusanDespite Mackenzie Thorpe originals being snapped up by a suite of celebrity followers from the worlds of film, TV, football and business, Mackenzie, 55, delights in ensuring his work is accessible to the people and places that have made up his artistic landscape for more than 30 years.
He grew up in a two bedroomed terrace near Union Street – his arrival took the residents of 66 Pauls Road up to a total of 11. His parents moved to the new Beechwood estate when he was a toddler. He is the eldest of seven children and is famously dyslexic.
‘I was labelled thick and lazy. I went through some difficult times at school and then working as a labourer and at Smiths Dock – but eventually this was what inspired me to become an artist and tell the story of the people of Middlesbrough.
‘And I hope they are going to enjoy my new work which has been created specifically for this Middlesbrough show – I am really looking forward to unveiling this work at Teesside University.’
Mackenzie Thorpe exhibition at Teesside University is on 3-29 October 2011 at the Constantine Gallery in Middlesbrough Tower. Open Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM through October 2011.
Mackenzie will be on hand to meet members of the public on Saturday 8 October, from 11.00am - 4.00pm. It's a chance to talk to the artist himself and ask him directly about his work and his influences.