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If there's a rock'n roll heaven, we know they've got a helluva band. We also happen to know the likes of Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, David Bowie and many more dearly departed music elite have Scott Mackie to thank for providing them with encores, of a sort. Fans tracking 'ballpoint art ' on social media are surely familiar with Mackie's royal portraiture — rock'n roll royalty, that is; photorealist likenesses of beloved figures now playing their great gig in the sky, preserved for posterity in ballpoint pen down here on terra firma.
Mackie's playlist goes all the way back to rock'n roll's roots — Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash are among the forefathers — but recently deceased rockers such as Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Prince also live on with a little help from Mackie. And it ain't just the dead (think end-of-life, not the Grateful …) for whom Mackie is rolling out the ink; Mick Jagger (pictured below), John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols pictured, left), Paul Weller (The Jam; The Style Council), Oasis' Gallagher brothers and Morrissey of The Smiths, all still headlining shows worldwide, also got Mackie's ballpoint seal of approval.
PENNAME by R. Bell posted October 3, 2019.
Sex, Drugs & Ballpoint Pens Scott Mackie・Aberdeen, Scotland
It also ain't just rock'n roll aristocracy; members of America's 1960s 'Rat Pack' are among Mackie's chosen ones (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.), as are other iconoclasts sporting rrrrock'n roll attitude (actor Marlon Brando, drawn from The Wild One movie poster, and fashion designer Alexander McQueen, drawn at the time of his suicide just as Mackie's series flourished). For The Who, it wasn't even the band members themselves but the scooter tied to 1960s-era London mod culture and the movie it spawned, Quadrophenia, which used music by the seminal group. It ain't just a mens' club either, thankyouverymuch; Mackie's Amy Winehouse (pictured) and Desperately Seeking Susan-era Madonna are among the Aberdeen, Scotland-born artist's greatest hits.
For the record : Some dismiss this brand of art as 'fan art', perhaps the art world equivalent of musics' 'cover' bands. Agreeable to a degree, but these ain't no black velvet paintings we're talking about. 'Art' is still the key word, ballpoint or not, and this art happens to be playing crowd-pleasers to as wide an audience as Picasso might attract nowadays. Pablo might even approve; what is art, after all, if not the perfect stage to push ones' passions on an unsuspecting public? Regardless, if 'fan art' is the extent of the work, Mackie's fans are an enviable bunch; some of his royal subjects have shown their interest and support via acquisitions and become ''quite good friends,'' he tells us (no, he wouldn't name names).
REWIND＜＜Mackie is, first, foremost, and unapologetically, a fan of the music, and has been all his life — ''I was brought up on a diet of Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones,'' he professes — but those interests didn't coalesce with his artistic skills until relatively recently. First he'd have to reignite his love of drawing, reconsider ballpoint pens as a respectable art medium, and acquaint himself with social media. ''My kids were growing up, which left me with more time on my hands, so around 2014-2015 I started doodling again. I didn’t really have any art supplies so this led me to use ballpoint. Around that time I also discovered social media and found other artists that were into ballpoint.'' That would be artists such as James Mylne and Juan Francisco Casas, both of whoms photorealist works introduced the internet masses to ballpoint pen art.
Mackie credits Mylne as an impetus to give ballpoint pens serious artistic consideration and even corresponded with him via email, with Mylne offering tips (''Take your time.''). Having become a fan of Mylne's, much of Mackie's output at the outset were unsurprisingly carbon copies of the London artist's ballpoint photorealism, even mimicking Mylne's stenciled spray paint backgrounds and choice of subjects (Aundrey Hepburn, et al — ''iconic hero’s of stage and screen,'' as Mackie describes it). Mylne could've contracted Mackie to mass-produce such works as Andy Warhol did at his Factory. Mackie soon discovered Mark Powell's ballpoint-on-found-paper drawings and self-schooled with that, too. ''Ballpoint is so versatile it can be used pretty much on any surface, so I was always on the lookout for something different to use,'' he explains.
FAST FORWARD ＞＞ By 2016, Mackie's pen impersonations had subsided — good thing; had his work not progressed, we at The Ballpointer might've lost interest. Editors here were never fans of derivative photorealism, of which there is now an overabundance, but we saw an arteest waiting to happen and kept Mackie on our 'watch' list, anticipating his work would evolve into something of his own. It did. Continues on HEADLINES 2 page ...
Artwork, left : God save the Queen (John Lydon), March, 2016, 30 x 60cm. Below : You're Wondering now, what to do, now you know this is the end (Amy Winehouse), March, 2016 ; You're a fool to cry and it makes me wonder why (Mick Jagger), February 2016 ; I'm waiting for my man, twenty-six dollars in my hand (Lou Reed) June, 2016. All artwork ballpoint pen on vintage postcards & mixed media, framed with vinyl record/ sleeve 30 x 60cm proportionately. © Scott Mackie.
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