it might be said that mackenzie thorpe’s history can be read in his artwork. themes of childhood, hope and community contrast with shadows and struggle; the bringing together of these opposing concepts and creating something universally understandable and appreciated is what has led to mackenzie thorpe becoming one of the most successful current artists in the uk.
thorpe was born into 1950s middlesborough. his family connection was strong, and he began his art journey when he was a young child, unable to stop drawing even when he did not have real materials, sometimes borrowing his mother’s makeup to create his art. thorpe’s struggles with dyslexia resulted in him leaving school with no qualifications; he remembers being told that he would never succeed when all he ever did was draw.
thorpe worked in manual labour positions until he was able to enter the middlesbrough college of art, followed by the byam shaw school of art in london. he stayed in london for a number of years to work with children in need.
as he grew in success and started his own family, thorpe moved back to the north and founded his gallery. he continued to gain recognition and admiration for his work, and in 2019 held a tour celebrating 30 years of his art career. this tour stretched from yorkshire to the usa and japan, demonstrating the continued delight that thorpe’s fans find in his work, and the wide appeal that his art holds for all who view it.