Charlie Mackesy

Charlie lives in Brixton, south London. He was born during a very cold snowy winter in Northumberland. 
He went to Radley College for a little while and then Hexham Queen Elizabeth High School, among others but seemed to prefer ferreting, drawing cartoons and swimming in the River Tyne. He attempted university twice but left both within a week
. He also made a vague attempt to study the relationship between fine art and theology at Cambridge and on discovering there wasn’t a course helped put one together.Sadly once the course was constructed he didn’t study it. He never went to art school but spent three months in America with a portrait painter where he learned about anatomy and how to deal with bed bugs He began as a cartoonist for The Spectator and a book illustrator for Oxford University Press before being taken on by galleries. He first exhibited drawings in London in The Park Walk Gallery, Chelsea and has since exhibited in galleries in New York ,London and Edinburgh He has lived and painted in South Africa, Southern Africa, and was obsessed with New Orleans. He made endless studies of jazz clubs and gospel bands and brought the work back to london to exhibit. His obsession with music and especially the Royal Albert Hall continues. “Its a great shape , a loving shape – like a jelly.” he says. “A cosy pudding housing genius” The story of the prodigal son is central to him. “It is subversive and flies in the face of religion, religious sensibility and moral high ground. It suggests we are loved not for what we do but because we exist. It cannot be earned; it is a gift. This is the most liberating truth in existence, that we are loved, known, forgiven and free.” His work now features in private collections including Highgate Cemetary, St Pauls Church Hammersmith altar wall triptych, Ashfield Prison Chapel ,Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, St Melitus college London, Ridley College Cambridge and various Safe houses for women around the world who have used his Prodigal Daughter images to give them a sense of peace and safety. One of his happiest times was making drawings for Richard Curtis on the set of Love Actually. Collectors of interest include ; Whoopi Goldberg, Roger Waters, Richard Curtis, The Murdoch Freuds, Tim Bevan, M.Night Shyamalan, Bear Grylls,Howard Goodall, Harry Enfield and Sting. He is in discussion with a curator from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York about a bronze cast of the Prodigal Son, but this is still in the early stages. He recently illustrated Bear Grylls book With love Papa. He is slowly compiling a book of cartoons. He co-runs Mama Buci which is a social enterprise in the Zambian copperbelt. 7000 families are given beehives and training to be beekeepers. The honey is then bought from them and sold in the UK. They are now harvesting 250 tons of ethical organic raw honey a year.This provides an income for thousands of families. He has recently produced “The Unity Series”. A collaborative set of lithographs with Nelson Mandela which began in 2006. The work is now finally published after a set back lasting a decade.

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