Honors Art Profile: Riley Mackinson

Kate Rogers

"It was the first time I ever drew a hand,” she said.

Riley Mackinson never thought she was an art person; in fact, she was a singer throughout middle school. But four years, and five art classes, later, Riley is definitely an art person. As an Honors Art student this year, she has focused on printmaking.

Her journey started with foundations of art (like it starts for us all). The goal was to go straight into photography, since that was the only part of art she was remotely interested in. But, once they reached the printmaking unit she had a revelation and “never made it to photography.” Unsurprisingly, she went on to take both printmaking one and two. “I really, really liked printmaking, she said. And she liked the freedom that the second printmaking class offered.  Still, she made some room for classes like drawing, but she soon returned to the medium she loves above all others. 

This year Riley decided to expand her horizons with Honors Art. Many of her pieces fall into the mixed media category, combining printmaking with drawing.  

The pieces include a magic eight ball, zodiac sign, tea leaves, the lottery (or “The endless search for numbers” according to her), and a murder scene. 

According to Riley, her defining question is, “How far we can go to define the future?” She’s interested in ideas related to fate and prophecy. More practically, she’s trying to figure out how far people will go to control their computers. 

Her lottery piece was her favorite. "It was the first time I ever drew a hand,” she said. “Even though I was in drawing.” (Apparently, printmaking appealed to her because she didn’t have to draw hands.)

Riley finds inspiration in the art she sees, often borrowing ideas from pieces she loves. Though, of course, she adjusts it to her own likes and dislikes. 

The artistic process for Riley is a short and harried one. Apparently, she has a big problem with procrastination, mostly because she likes to sit down and do the whole piece at one time. When she starts she just can’t stop. She admits that it’s a bit of a problem. “Ms. Story doesn’t really get mad at me about it,” she said. “But she tells me I need to leave it and then come back.” 

Riley may have started off a singer, but fate (or a magic eight ball?) led her down a different path. So maybe the answer to her question is that we don’t have much control over fate. Sometimes we just need to see where it take us. We might discover a passion we had no idea we would even remotely enjoy. 

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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