McKenzie's Cloud: Painting the Future of Music
McKenzie O’connor is a nineteen-year-old visual artist who has been making waves in the underground LA music scene by doing covers for independent artists. Her impressive portfolio consists of the cover arts for Addicted by Marko & Jordan Everett and WTDWTS by Buppy. & Shy High, Butterflies by Xedrin, Stuck in the Middle by DXCKLIN, and Figure it out by Jordan Everett. She has done visual aspects of Buppy's branding, as well as provided creative input to multiple projects. We caught up with her and got an inside look at how she does what she does.
So where are you from and where are you now?
I am from Grand Rapids Michigan and moved about 4 months ago to West Hollywood.
How was that change for you?
Fast. I originally was in school to become a nurse, visited LA for the first time, then dropped classes and dropped out. I guess you could say I’m still catching up.
How’d you originally get into visual art?
My twin brother and I have actually always done art together, we learned from each other and it was the fun light competition that pushed us both to get better.
What to led you get into the music scene?
I’ve always used music when painting. When I don’t know what to draw or paint I’ll put on music and find the concepts and the inspiration for the art through the sound.
Walk us through your artistic process.
Well usually if it's for an artist I’ll listen to the song on repeat so that I can really get a feel for it and understand the artist so that it’s more custom to each person. That’s why none of my projects look the same; each song has its own different style. If I don’t know what I wanna do, I’ll get my colored lights, put on music, light incense, and let the smoke bounce off the different mirrors in my room. This helps me see how the smoke moves with the music and helps me find the energy I want to put into the piece.
What was the most impactful cover art project you’ve done?
For me, the most impactful cover art I’ve done is the one for Addicted by Marko & Jordan Everett. It was the first time I’d gotten full creative freedom on all the decisions for it and I especially enjoyed it since it’s closer to the genre of music that I generally listen to.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue visual art as a career?
I decided I wanted to pursue a career in visual arts about 6 months ago when I came to visit Kenji over winter break. I guess I never really knew it was a possibility until coming out here and seeing everyone pursuing what they are passionate about. After I went home I packed my stuff dropped my classes and moved out here within the next 2 months.
Any big projects or collaborations for the future we can look forward to?
As of right now, I’m working on covers for Xedrin and Buppy, DXCKLIN, & Kenji, with more on the horizon.