This project received an Honourable Mention for the Opus Art Supplies Graduation Award (BFA)

Zappitude (2020)

48” x 48” x 7”

Hand tufted rug circles, feathers, plaster shaped in vintage soap molds, stuffed unicorn horn, foam, yarn, Nanny’s lace, Molly’s sweater, Laurence’s tealight cups, Mom’s corks, Molly’s bath mat, fabric, non-slip grip mat, faux fur, polyfill, spray paint, acrylic, oil, Albertan beeswax, paper mache clay, moldable plastic, cardboard, foam mat strips


In these detail photos, I hope you will get a glimpse of what this painting is like in its true, tangible form. Zappitude is both physically and visually hefty. It’s important to me that viewers are able to search for details and moments that intrigue, excite, perplex or disgust them. Reflecting the process, my paintings desire presence.


Zappitude develops from an organic art making process that relies on my relationship to my materials. I start with a collection of things. Some are given to me by friends or family members; some pieces have lived with me for a decade. I begin with no known ending so that the painting can become something with me. In time, I alter, conceal and transform these things, and they begin to relate to each other, contrasting texture, form and space. As I work, I use plaster and wax to create my own objects that accompany the found ones. Feeling the process, I make unlanguaged decisions that collectively dictate the result.

Nightwalk (2019)

38" x 52"

Thrifted yarns, laces and fabric, polyfill, oil paint, paper pulp clay, homemade oil stick, plaster

Nightwalk Detail (2019)

38" x 52"

Thrifted yarns, laces and fabric, polyfill, oil paint, paper pulp clay, homemade oil stick, plaster


Artist Statement

My name is Mackenzie Colby and I am a recent BFA graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Currently based outside of Seattle, Washington, I am at the beginning of my career as an emerging artist. Making work is important to me as a human-animal who thrives in the experience of life, aesthetics, and expression. My practice is based on material relationships and intuitive decision-making that I recognize as similar to the sentient creative ability of non-human animals. I’m interested in stereotypically feminine/natural approaches to “reasoning” that are historically thought of as invalid in the logic-driven patriarchal system of Western society.


My work is important to me because of its visceral materiality. With so much of our human experience turning to digital spaces I think it’s important to experience curious things first-hand. In my painting practice, I use paints, waxes and mediums to alter, envelope and preserve a fluctuating collection of thingy things. One action leads to another in a heap of subconscious and conscious thought, thriving on the push and pull between medium and maker. There is a slowing down, both in the making and the viewing of my work. Hours of time are dedicated to the layering process. The viewer recognizes my hand in the work: do they recognize the hands that made the objects within? Accelerated capitalism distances us from the labour that results in mass-produced objects. I create paintings with the intention of providing an active space that asks viewers to search, acknowledge, and bask in a moment.


Mackenzie Colby was born in Abbotsford in British Columbia, Canada in 1998. Growing up on the beaches and in the trees of the Pacific Northwest, her love of the organic world flourished. A serial collector, Mackenzie has drawers, bins and bags filled with items that many would call “garbage.” She has a longstanding love for simple, beautiful moments. In time, painting beckoned to her. Mackenzie developed her interests when she opted to take her Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts.

After spending one year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mackenzie finished her degree at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in May 2020. Her efforts in school earned her a nomination for the BMO Financial Group’s 1st Art! Competition, which is currently pending results. During her time in Vancouver, Mackenzie also learned traditional candle-making techniques as a chandler’s apprentice. In her free time, she enjoys contemplative, mesmerizing crafts like sewing, candle making, and rug tufting.

When not creating, you can find Mackenzie giddily peeking under rocks at local Salish Sea beaches or hunting for the perfect slime mold cluster.

Mackenzie’s paintings were featured in a solo show at Emily Carr University in Spring 2020. She has also shown work in exhibitions at Eclectic 47, Schack Art Center, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mackenzie also received a travel grant to study the master painters of Florence and Sienna at the Sienna Art Institute (SART).

Info | | @mackenzie_colby


Thanks for taking a look! (-: