Monthly Archives: June 2017

Artist Spotlight: McKenzie Dove

Jun 27, 17

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Anne Neilson Fine Art is ecstatic to introduce McKenzie Dove, an artist featured in our most recent exhibition, Rooted. Three words that encapsulate McKenzie’s aesthetic, she states, are “structural, organic, and textural.” Whether small or large, her works exude a soothing simplicity and make a great addition to any living space!  To learn more about McKenzie’s background and her innovative painting method–read the exclusive interview below!

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Currently Living: Birmingham, AL

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

I had crayons and finger paints in my hands when I was 2 and I’ve always experimented with different mediums, but I developed my palette knife technique when I was 18 and sold my first piece when I was 21.  I was thrilled that someone wanted to pay me for something I created and my career has just evolved from there!

What makes your work unique?

When I started painting with a palette knife I didn’t set out to create a technique that was different. It just sort of evolved through hours and hours of experimenting with oil paint and a variety of knives. I was fascinated by the way the oil could be moved around with a knife (still am) and the way I could use it to work subtle color into a piece layer by layer.  It wasn’t until I started selling my work that I realized how unique my texture is!

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Describe your artistic process and preparation.

I am very passionate about design and architecture so I like to imagine the spaces where my art will be installed.  I think that a well designed space is art in itself and can bring out different elements in a painting.  Every morning I sit down with a cup of coffee and study material from magazines and Pinterest.  I draw a lot of inspiration from furniture, art, interior design and Cycladic architecture and natural materials like coral, stone and botanicals.  After my morning routine of soaking up inspiration I’m excited to jump into a new painting.

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McKenzie’s morning coffee and inspiration routine

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

That changes every day! But I would have to say “Sail” because I LOVE large scale work and I’m really into the greige tones in that piece right now.

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Sail, 72×48

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Up close detail of Sail

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

Artists from the past are a great source of inspiration for me along with some interior designers who I’m currently obsessed with.  I’m absolutely fascinated by the work of artists like Cy Twombly, J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, Bruce Budd, Stephen Sills, Rosie Uniacke and Darryl Carter.

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Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bolsena), 1969, Art Institute of Chicago

 What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art? How do you approach/overcome them?

As I talk to other artists and think about my own experience it seems that one of the challenges that we all face is protecting the originality of our work.  We all like to be inspired by the work of other artists but it’s very important make sure that we don’t infringe on someone else’s original idea.  Many artists, including myself, have other artists try to replicate their technique and market it as their own.  While this is flattering it’s also very frustrating.  I don’t want anything to take the joy out of what I do, so I just stay focused on the things I can control – my own work and creative development.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)? 

Marrying my husband! I’m so blessed to do life with him.

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McKenzie and her husband on their wedding day!

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

A bright white space filled with natural light where I can make a huge mess and play music as loudly as I want.

A random fact about you:

I lived in a small town for the majority of my childhood and we had farm animals. I actually used to ride my horse into town to buy colored pencils from our dollar store and I trained bunnies for 4-H. 

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

Alys Beach and Santa Barbara are two of my favorite places but the architecture, food and landscape I’ve experienced in Europe can’t be beat.

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Entrance to Alys Beach in Florida

What are you currently reading? 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography

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What are you currently listening to?

Whilk & Misky

What would you be doing if you were not an artist? 

Interior Designer and part time sushi chef

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 One thing you couldn’t live without? 

Coffee

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Victoria Beckham

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

It’s hard to choose just one! I love William McLure though.  He’s unbelievably talented and inspiring.

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William McLure, artist and interior designer based in Birmingham, AL

Dream commission?

I would probably faint if Rosie Uniacke commissioned a piece from me!

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Interior designer, Rosie Uniake, in her London home

What do you want your audience to know about your work?

I’d just like everyone to know how grateful I am to those who admire and enjoy my work.  I hope that if they purchase a piece they will treasure it and know that I invested just as much creative energy and passion into it as I would if it were going to be hung in my own home!

studioSelection of McKenzie’s work

 Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years

I’d like to eventually incorporate interior design and maybe even furniture design into my brand! Design is such a major part of who I am and I’ve drawn furniture, lighting and floor plans since I was a kid.  I’m always drawing mental sketches when I walk into a home or commercial space and it would be so exciting to explore the creative process of design the way that I have with my art.

Stop by the gallery to see McKenzie’s work in person before the conclusion of Rooted on July 15th!

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Library, 40×40

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The Siesta, 12×12

Face IV

Face IV, 8×8

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Artist Spotlight: Melvin G

Jun 21, 17

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Anne Neilson Fine Art is excited to introduce to our viewers a talented artist who is featured in our exhibition, Rooted (May 31-July 15), which focuses on a diverse set of Southern, emerging artists. Morgan Elvington Walker, who also goes by Melvin G, is a native and current resident of Florence, South Carolina. Describing her aesthetic as, “colorful and controlled chaos,” Morgan explains how her work is inspired by her father’s experience with Parkinson’s disease and her three year old daughter’s experimental and chaotic drawing methods. Her father’s increasing awareness of his “lack of control” over his writing and her daughter’s youthful unawareness where she has not yet learned to control her writing both have had profound influence over Morgan and her artwork. This distinct theme of chaos balanced with control remains a constant thread throughout her work. To learn more about her background and artistic inspiration, along with enticing pictures of her captivating works, continue reading the interview below!

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Morgan’s father, an inspiration to her artwork

When did you start your career in art?

I began my art career in the Fall of 2015. I have loved art from before I can remember, but I never really considered doing it as my job.  I went to school for interior design at Winthrop University, then studied art and art history at Clemson University.  When I graduated, I went into interior design, and then fashion.  After having my daughter, I continued to design for my jewelry line (Melvin) with my aunt and do the window installations at Capitol in Charlotte.  After about a year of traveling back and forth, I decided to take a break from working. Six months later my husband bought me a large easel for my birthday, and put it in a spare room in our house. He told me to go paint as a creative outlet.  I began painting more and more, and I fell in love with it all over again. Now I can’t imagine a day without it.  I am literally doing it every break I have, and with a three year old and five month old maybe I should be resting.

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Morgan’s 3 year old daughter, Liza

One thing you couldn’t live without?  

My family… and espresso.

Describe your artistic process and preparation:

When I first got back into painting I was discouraged because I did not like about 90% of what I was creating, so I was not doing it much.  I was talking to a friend who is also a painter.  He told me to just paint as much as I could.  I might hate most of it, but I would love some of it.  Then I could eventually take everything I loved and make something great out of it.  It was probably some of the best advice I have ever received.

With my abstract pieces I do color studies to come up with my color schemes.  Sometimes I do exactly as I planned, and sometimes I completely veer off course.  I usually end up liking those the most.  I always listen to music when I paint, and as silly as it sounds, I let the music take over my every move. I can always tell what type of music I was listening to when looking at a piece.

 What are you currently listening to?

Every song from the show Big Little Lies. It is possibly the best soundtrack I have ever listened to. My husband and I love music, and It is constantly playing in our house.  My playlist always includes Ryan Adams, The Rolling Stones, The Lumineers, Nirvana, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Coldplay, Neil Diamond, The Black Keys, Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Bon Iver, The Hollies, Pete Yorn, any and everything Motown, and most songs from the 50s (that is all my parents listened to while I was growing up.)

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Big Little Lies

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

Safe Haven. My morning devotional was talking about how heaven is our safe haven. The world is a crazy, scary, beautiful, yet ugly place. Knowing our forever safe haven is heaven, a perfect, pure, beautiful place with only goodness, is so comforting.  When looking at it, especially on a hard day, it reminds me that everything will be alright.

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Safe Haven, 24×18

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

Professionally: I made a portrait of Oscar de la Renta out of red, yellow, blue, black and white thumb-tacks.  He and his family came to see it, and he signed it.  It was such an honor to meet him (even though I do not really remember what he said because I was so excited and nervous.)  Definitely one of the top five best moments of my life.

Personally: Every single time I can get a work goal accomplished being a full time mom of two little ones.

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Morgan and Oscar de la Renta in front of her thumb-tack portrait

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

Stella McCartney. Her career, her family, her friends, I would not mind trying it on for a day. Maybe even a week, but not right before fashion week.

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Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat are my all time favorite artists.  I also love Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso and Joan Mitchell. My favorite emerging artists are Laura Deems and Dorothy Shain.

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Jean Michel Basquiat

Dream commission?

Reese Witherspoon.  Always loved that Southern belle, now even more so after Big Little Lies.

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What are you working on now?

My upcoming series was inspired by Leon, a man I met on the streets of Charleston.

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Sneak peak of Morgan’s new series inspired by Leon!

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 What do you want your audience to know about your work?

 I want my audience to take away what they felt when looking at the piece.  I try to keep my titles very simple.  The abstracts are usually just the colors of the piece in Italian, and the faces are the name of a loved one.  From my experience, when I title a piece, the viewer is always looking for that.  I would much rather them see what they are feeling.  And with that, depending on how they are feeling, it can change for them each time they look at it.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years.

To be five years better than I am today.  To challenge myself to get better and grow each and every day.

Thank you for reading, and come see Morgan’s work in the gallery before the conclusion of the Rooted exhibition on July 15th!

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Annis Crown, 20×16

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Verde Acqua e Rosa, 23×30

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SPF 1000, 12×18

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Rosetta Peacock, 24×18

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