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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Entrance to Alys Beach in Florida
What are you currently reading?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography
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
One thing you couldn’t live without?
If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?
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.
William McLure, artist and interior designer based in Birmingham, AL
I would probably faint if Rosie Uniacke commissioned a piece from me!
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!
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!
The Siesta, 12×12
Face IV, 8×8