As a new Art Consultant here at Arthaus, I have had a busy (and educational!) couple of weeks so far. Remembering the daily to-do list, mastering the drive to the framer’s, and learning all about Mackenzie Thorpe and his work. Today I have been tasked with contributing to the Arthaus blog and to say a bit about “Gallery Life” from a new team member’s perspective.
One of my favourite things about working in the gallery is talking to the people who come through our door. I have already met such a wide range of people and I love hearing about how they discovered Mackenzie and how the artwork fits into their lives. A recurring theme in these conversations has been the accessibility of Mackenzie’s work. For every collector I have met that is a seasoned gallery-goer, I have met just as many who would never have described themselves as “art lovers” in the same way. People who always thought art wasn’t “for” them and would normally hesitate to go into a gallery like this one. One lady even asked if we charge entry!
If you have ever heard or read a Mackenzie Thorpe interview, you will know this is a topic close to his heart - the perceived elitism of the art world. What an absolute pleasure it is, then, to have spent these weeks talking to so many people who have found art that speaks to them, that reflects the world they know and love. Many of Mackenzie’s fans, like Mackenzie himself, are from industrial cities around the world, from Newcastle to Sydney to Chicago. They know these cities, know the people, and know the life. Although not originally from the north-east (I am a London/New York girl myself), I am a real fan of Mackenzie’s Middlesbrough artwork and love seeing pieces featuring his hometown and its people.
I love the fact that this work is being represented in the 2018 calendar. If I had to pick my favourite image from the calendar, it would definitely be “The Night Before”, an evocative portrayal of Middlesbrough workmen with the ever-present Transporter Bridge standing watch over them. This train of thought has led me to a fascination with all of Mackenzie’s artwork that feature the iconic Transporter Bridge – watch this space for more about this and some of my favourite pieces! What is your favourite Transporter Bridge image?