We had the good fortune of connecting with McKenzie Fitzhenry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi McKenzie, what inspires you?
The dualities present in the world inspire my work. There are positives embedded in all the negatives of life, and this realization has helped me reframe my own experiences as well. Nature, the human body, and emotions are also major sources of inspiration in my practice. I often use these elements in my work to help convey intangible sentiments in a tactile way, underlining the dualities present by expressing the resilience and beauty found within the struggles.Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Experimentation is common in my art practice; however, I tend to work primarily with drawing and painting, conveying inner turmoil alongside its underlying beauty through the contrast between the chaotic and the serene. A navigation of the inner terrain, my work draws inspiration from personal experience with trauma, mental health, and the human body. Through expressionistic mark making and emotionally infused posing of the nude human figure, I evoke the vulnerability, turbulence and inherent beauty within. These themes of loss and growth, struggle and resilience, portray the duality that fascinates me and imbues my work. The path to get to where I am now in life was not easy. I had to overcome many health struggles that held me back from following my dreams and getting my undergraduate degree. Fortunately, I was able to fight through it all and keep pushing forward – and am now about to graduate from the University of North Texas this Summer 2021, with my BFA in Studio Art: Drawing and Painting and a minor in Art History. I have learned that one’s path in life is not linear – there are so many deviations that can happen which take your life on some unexpected turns, often out of your control. The only thing you can do is to keep pushing forward and believe in yourself. Although things may not happen according to your ideal plan or timeline, it doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish your goals as long as you set your mind to it. I was able to overcome many different obstacles in regard to my health and push past the effects my struggles have had on my mental health in order to get to where I am today. This was not an easy feat and is still something that I continue to struggle with. However, through my work, I am able to reassess my traumas and reframe them into something beautiful.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Denton is a fun and quirky little town that has a lot of unique spots. One of the favorite local areas is the Denton Square which has a lot of different stores, restaurants and bars that are fun to explore. Some of my favorite include The Bearded Monk where you can enjoy a drink or pick up some cool craft beer, seltzer and wine. As far as food, the Thai Potsticker pizza from Pizza Snob and the brisket queso from LSA Burger are some cool staples found around the Square. And if you love plants as much as I do, you should definitely swing by True Leaf Studio and get yourself some plant babies to take back home with you!The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be who I am or where I am today without the endless love and support of my parents and family. They have been there through all the highs and lows of life, and I cannot express the extent of my love or gratitude for them enough.
Other: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org