The Awe-Inspiring Work of Neil Adam Mackay
St Leonards-based artist, Neil Adam Mackay, is truly a talent to behold, one with seemingly limitless skill and creative innovation. Woefully unaware of his work prior to this feature, it was a mutual friend (and fellow member of the HIP team) who initially introduced to me to his exquisitely varied oeuvre and I found myself instantly captivated by his unique, visionary flair!
Neil’s illustrious career began more than three decades ago, first as a student of Art, then as an independent artist and teacher – one whose comprehensive knowledge of art history is very much evident in his subsequent, prodigious output.
Bespoke faux painted tapestry by the artist
His artistic repertoire includes an enviable litany of skills; from elaborate wall murals and gloriously grotesque arabesques to trompe l’oeil, chinoiserie, abstract decorative designs and even architecture. In addition to the aforementioned, Neil also has a keen eye for portraiture, masterfully capturing the human form in a style which is wholly his own.
Previous projects have been just as eclectic, with Neil recently being hired to paint a series of erotic murals for Channel 4’s lavish production, The Great (featuring acclaimed Hollywood actors Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult), a quasi-historic comedic romp set in 18th century Russia, which follows the rise of the now infamous Catherine the Great.
Mural by Neil, on a house in Normandy, France
Perhaps my favourite areas of work in his portfolio are the faux painted tapestries. Neil’s fascination with the latter was first inspired by a trip to Italy, where imitations of woven tapestries are often used while the originals are on loan or simply set aside for safe keeping. Neil presents this revised version of the more traditional tapestry as an innately affordable luxury, one which offers a multitude of possibilities: from a once-in-a-lifetime gift for a loved one to a lavish alternative to the humble curtain.
Further exploration of his work draws comparison to that of the Renaissance artists Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci et al in both grandeur and sheer scale of workmanship, all of which is combined with distinctive elements of Baroque and Neo-Classical style.
From small, private commissions to more wide-ranging corporate requests, Neil actively encourages a collaborative approach throughout his work between the client and himself. Indeed, it feels refreshing to see, in these ever evolving, technology-riddled times, an artist who is so able to revitalise such traditional forms of art, in a manner which still feels utterly contemporary.
• Please refer to the artist’s official website for further details
Mia interviews Neil Adam Mackay in a forthcoming arts special episode of HIPcast. More information can be found via The Hastings Independent website.
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