Mackenzie Swenson

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Mackenzie Swenson

Aged 24

Grand Central Atelier

Instructor(s): Jacob Collins, Colleen Barry, Will St. John, Zoe Dufour, Charlie Mostow, Edward Minoff

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  • Artworks


Oil Based Clay

40.64 x 86.36 x 53.34 cms (16 x 34 x 21 ins)


Oil Based Clay

93.98 x 88.9 x 10.16 cms (37 x 35 x 4 ins)


Oil Based Clay

71.12 x 25.4 x 22.86 cms (28 x 10 x 9 ins)


Oil Based Clay

76.2 x 12.7 x 10.16 cms (30 x 5 x 4 ins)

Woman with Folded Hands

Charcoal, Graphite, and White Chalk on Toned Paper

60.96 x 45.72 cms (24 x 18 ins)


Graphite and White Chalk on Toned Paper

55.88 x 38.1 cms (22 x 15 ins)

Leaning Figure

Charcoal, Graphite, and White Chalk on Toned Paper

60.96 x 45.72 cms (24 x 18 ins)


Oil on Linen

45.72 x 38.1 cms (18 x 15 ins)

Figure and Orb

Oil on Linen

48.26 x 38.1 cms (19 x 15 ins)

Jim in Color

Oil on Linen

50.8 x 38.1 cms (20 x 15 ins)

Arm Study

Graphite on Paper

50.8 x 35.56 cms (20 x 14 ins)

Dynamic Play

Oil on Board

15.24 x 15.24 cms (6 x 6 ins)

   “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

                                                            -G.K. Chesterton

   My belief in the tradition of realism is rooted in exploring a moment. I believe in allowing ourselves to be confronted with the experience of honest and humble observation, abandoning the mediation of device, authority, and previous assumptions. I believe in fostering an ability to appreciate what is in front of us—being more fully alive through heightening our sense of wonder.

   With my professional art career approaching, one desire is to encourage people (not just artists) to seek out ways of reconnecting with their senses. While there is some cultural movement towards awareness, the greater part of our culture is on the fast track to numbness through artifice and over-stimulation. The practice of drawing and painting, however, requires engagement in a single moment. I aim to foster this practice both as an instructor in the atelier tradition and through writing and speaking to a broader audience.

   At the same time, I am planning a long-term project, “Inheritance,” an exploration of places whose influence I am a descendant of. This stems from an endless curiosity about how landscapes shape those who inhabit them, and, similarly, how history reaches into the lives of its children with the decisive fist of impact. How often are we gaining from someone else’s efforts, or suffering for crimes we did not commit? How does this affect our daily lives, and how can we be more attentive to these realities?

   Through this exploration, I hope to investigate ways our unique inheritances can be used to cultivate  awareness, empathy, and positive change, rather than unconsciously letting them dictate our future.


    Thank you for your time. 





Grand Central Atelier, New York City, NY

September 2014 – Present 


The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art,  Minneapolis, Minnesota       

August 2010May 2014



Recipient of the La Napoule Residency                                                                            

May 2017


ARC Scholarship2nd Place        

August 2016


$5,000 GCA Tuition Scholarship             

July 2016 


Participation in 2016 Figure Drawing Competition                                                                                          July 2016                        


$5,000 GCA Tuition Scholarship                                                                                                                                 June 2015                        


Selection as a Hudson River Fellow                                                                                                                    July 2015                        


$2,500 GCA Tuition Scholarship                                                                                                                       September 2014                        


ARC Scholarship4th Place                                                                                                                           August 2014                        


Alice M. Stolpe Scholarship for the Arts                                                                                                           May 2010                        


Annual Hudson Area High School Art Exhibition Judges Award1st Place                                                             May 2010           





Grand Central Atelier Student Show                                                                                                                May 2017 

Grand Central Atelier Student Show                                                                                                                May 2016

Solo Show: Roots and Wings, Northwoods Event Center; Siren, WI                                                                                                                         August 2015

Hudson River Fellow Exhibition, Jackson Community Center; Jackson, NH                                                                                                                  July 2015

Grand Central Atelier Student Show                                                                                                                May 2015

Solo Show: Along the Way, The Atelier; Minneapolis, MN/Northwoods Event Center; Siren, WI                                                                                                                          August 2014

Annual Small Works Exhibition, Kelly Gallery, Hudson, WI                                                                                                             September 2012

Emerging Artist Exhibition, Frederic Arts Center; Frederic, WI                                                                                                                         August 2012