The Art of Christopher McKenney
Dark and visually provocative, the art of Christopher McKenney is a surreal plunge into a world of self-expression. Floating figures. Empty portraits…
People disappear into empty portraits. Floating figures strike bargains deep in the woods. Fire consumes without discrimination. With striking art that’s at once comforting and frightening, it’s easy to see why this independent artist has been turning heads with his unique style. The Plymouth, Pennsylvania-based artist describes his work as “surreal” or “trick photography”, but it’s his disquieting ability to tell a story without words that had me lost for hours in a strange world I didn’t want to leave.
Bury Your Pain
McKenny’s work doesn’t fit neatly into one category. His talents extend from portraits and architectural shots to band photography and horror work. “It’s so hard for me to say one thing gives me inspiration – pretty much everything gives me inspiration. Everything helps me, in a way,” says McKenney of his work. “I usually think of a concept and run with it.”
One Last Favour
No one knows where McKenney’s work is going to go next. He often finds himself in the middle of the woods with his camera and a bunch of random objects, alone in warehouses and abandoned buildings, or in the city after dark. The artist tries not to think about the future, preferring to focus on his work instead: “I will make art until the day I die and if people are into it, then great, but if not I’ll still be doing my own thing.” Recent works include children’s portraits alongside horror work, adding to the diversity of his portfolio and giving the viewer a testament to his impressive skill for an artist who received his first camera only three years ago.
McKenney’s work evokes something different in everyone; reactions to his photography have ranged from awe to physical discomfort. There’s something beautiful about being unsettled and the artist’s work plays on feelings of fear, regret, and sadness that come from being lost in the everyday world. “Honestly, I don’t think about what I want people to see or feel when I make a photo… I just make what’s in my head and put it out there,” McKenney says. Whether his work is a form of self-expression or a representation of the viewer’s feelings, McKenney’s strengths lie in his ability to portray a story with every image. Each photograph raises questions and has viewers doing double-takes, wondering what they’re seeing (and, importantly, what did they miss?)
I Will Not Be Myself