CreativeReview

Gradwatch: Tessa Mackenzie

CR: What’s the most important lesson you have learnt while at art school?

TM: I’ve learnt so much whilst studying at art school – but I think the most important lesson I’ve learnt (and am still learning) is the ability to look at a piece of work that I don’t like, and be able to articulate why I don’t like it in a critical way – it helps me when I’m trying to understand why I like the stuff I do too. 

One page comics project, no.40
One page comics project, no.40

CR: What’s next now that you have graduated?

TM: I’d like to get a studio space somewhere in Glasgow and start working on some comics and animations ideas that have been brewing for a little while, there’s also some pretty interesting evening courses in stained glass I’d like to apply to and see how I can feed those techniques into my work too. I just want to learn lots of stuff now that I have the time basically. 

Walk to School observation project, no.3
Walk to School observation project, no.3

CR: Tell us a little bit about the techniques/mediums you used for your graduate show.

TM: I always start by sketching stuff out until I figure out which medium is best suited for the idea or tone I’m attempting to communicate. Recently I’ve got more into collage, so a lot of my time is spent priming paper with watercolours and gouache before scanning them in to play about with digitally. The majority of my work in final year was loosely based around comics, so I did a lot of observation drawing from real life and from photos, that I’d then use to trace from and create new compositions. I started collecting snippets of information last year, mostly short sentences and phrases, and arranging them in different orders to see if they came up with a narrative – I suppose I just mess about with stuff until it feels like it makes sense in one way or another. 

How The Water Feels To The Fishes, illustrated laser etched blocks, comic book workshop. Adapted from Dave Eggers’ short story collection
How The Water Feels To The Fishes, illustrated laser etched blocks, comic book workshop. Adapted from Dave Eggers’ short story collection
How The Water Feels To The Fishes, illustrated laser etched blocks + rubbing press, comic book workshop. Adapted from Dave Eggers’ short story collection
How The Water Feels To The Fishes, illustrated laser etched blocks + rubbing press, comic book workshop. Adapted from Dave Eggers’ short story collection

CR: What’s the craziest/weirdest thing you’ve had to do while creating a piece of art?

TM: Ah,  see I dunno – my work is pretty tame in that respect, I did a project called Tinnitus in Paris last year that was about people that have a hearing condition called hyperacusis – it was a rotoscoped animation of a busy street corner in Paris. It wasn’t by any means crazy, but it was pretty weird trying to manipulate the sound footage to mimic that of what people with hyperacusis hear in that situation. 

A Souvenir of Hell Screensaver, inspired by Edgar Keret’s short story collection
A Souvenir of Hell Screensaver, inspired by Edgar Keret’s short story collection

CR: You’re dream project or commission, what would it be? 

TM: I don’t mean to sound like a fangirl but if Ken Price was still alive I’d love to collaborate on making a comic with him, I’ve always thought his drawings would lend themselves pretty well to a comic format.


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Mackenzie is one of the 11 graduates whose work has been selected by us to appear on JCDecaux digital screens all over the UK, including at major railway stations, shopping centres and roadways as a part of CR’s Talentspotting scheme. 

tessmackenzie.tumblr.com

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