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McKinsie Vanderpool

McKinzie Jean Vanderpool is the new Young Artist at the Corner Gallery. She is a 21-year old native of Willits, and the product of a creative homeschooled experience. In her words, "As a homeschooled child I was given the opportunity to explore many different routes and live a beautiful childhood. Other than classic school studies my life consisted of playing barefoot outside in the gardens, reading and making jam with my mom and grandma, exploring beautiful places with my four younger siblings and friends, fishing on Sundays and playing games with my family on Fridays." She has been out of high school for four years and currently works full-time as well as volunteering with kids through the Redwood Valley Community Church by sharing art and poetry with them."


McKinzie has settled on her means of artistic expression through a circuitous process. As she describes it, "It seems every child has that stage where they paint a sun on the corner of a page and call themselves a future artist, I certainly had that stage but never put much stock into it. In junior high I was trying to heal from some deeply wounding experiences and abuse which lead me to learning to share where I had been and where I wanted to go on paper, creating comforting poetry or dark art. As the years went on the art faded with my busier schedule and I didn't pick it back up until sometime in collage when I was extremely broke and need to make gifts rather than buy. I watercolored and inked some cards as I had seen a friend do. Then when COVID hit and I had plenty of time to spend inside, I decided to not do art just for the sake of gift giving but to try something just for fun again. I've never taken any art classes but it runs in my family, they are all gifted! Particularly my Grandma Virginia. She and I had a very special bond before she passed away from cancer and I always admire her art."


Currently McKinzie's favorite mediums are oil and charcoal, for very different reasons. She characterizes oil as something almost alive, "Oil is translucent and makes faces look flushed from the inside out. I grew up visiting museums and have been intrigued since I was a very young girl with Greek mythology, Italian scenes, marble statues, and Renaissance art. Oil is frequently used to capture these things, and thus it is a huge draw for me. In many ways it's a dying style that I want to keep alive. It also takes great patience to use because of how long it takes to dry; it helps me slow down, clear my mind and enjoy the simple beauties of the moment and of the process." Her relationship with charcoal is very different, "Charcoal will always be one I gravitate towards. It's messy but wielding it is incredibly fun for me!"


When asked about her favorite pieces in her show, McKinzie had to stop and think. "Favorites have always been hard for me," she explained. "I enjoy variety and well roundedness in my life. However, my portrait of James Dean continues to catch my eye. The textures in it, particularly his hand and sleeve are very satisfying to me. However usually I like pieces with more movement and emotion, so I'm also obsessed with the lady leaning in to kiss a marble statue because it's evocative."

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