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At this website you will find a gallery containing all my major works of art, a resume detailing my credentials, examples of studio experiences, as well as a way to contact me.



Adrienne L. McKenzie, Artist/Designer:

Another day, another design; Never mind it’s 1:09 a.m. I am on that creative role and there is no denying it now.  A little voice at the back of my head is reminding me about the eight hour day that’s ahead, and although I will perform 100% at my job per usual – bagging groceries, working customer service, counting the money - right now the priority is giving life to the current creative idea that is in my head.  I draw the figure, draw the design, think about the fabrics and textures and colors I’d use and wha-lah! another couture fashion design.  The next step will be to draft a pattern and construct it into actual life.

When I was seventeen years old, my father passed away suddenly of a heart attack.  He had always been, beyond my mother, my greatest supporter when it came to believing in my artistic abilities.  He told me once that if I didn’t do something with my artistic talents I was a fool.  Those words may sound harsh to some but to me I understand it as his unquestionable belief that I had something useful to contribute to the world through my talents.

I had always been one to draw, in fact my childhood best friend and I would skip studying geometry (for better or for worse!) in order to create comic book characters together.  When she came to visit me after my father died she brought with her a single item that would forever change my artistic life.  Out of a bag she withdrew a dark green medieval gown.  “You made that?!” I had asked, fingering the garment in awe.  How many young girls like I had dreamed of owning a gown like that, it seemed to be out of a fairy tale or a movie!  Needless to say, I saw an opportunity for myself in that dress.  I wanted one too – in fact I wanted to make one myself.  I had a million ideas burst upon my mind at that moment.  And so at the age of seventeen I taught myself to sew by hand with a needle and thread.

After that point in time, I continued to both “fail” and “improve” when it came to my “newly acquired skill.”  I taught myself everything, or I figured it out on my own.  Natural talent is what my family now calls it.  My mother bought me my first sewing machine after I had hand sewn a velvet, Italian Renaissance gown c. 1495 – I guess by that time she realized how serious I was about this.  It only added to my ability to create.  From all of this I was able to create and market Irish Solo Dresses to competitive Irish Dancers which started at $800.00 and up.  I would come home from my full time job that I worked 3:00 pm until 12:30 am and would sew from 1:00 am through the early morning, so great was my passion to create.  I have also been commissioned by various individuals to create couture costumes, clothes and accessories (for example hats & purses) and this past winter into early summer I was the costume designer for Temple Theater in Sanford, NC. 

My time spent at Temple Theater was incredible and I happened upon the position by taking a chance.  I had stopped by to talk with the artistic director, interested in gaining experience, even if it was just buttons that needed to be sewn on, I was all for it – anything to get my foot in the door!  I sat down with my portfolio and with no professional theatrical background what-so-ever.  Needless to say by the time I left I was working as their primary costume designer for the production of the Fantasticks.  I also was the costumer designer for See How They Run, and wardrobe/wig mistress for A Dash of Rosemary and Beehive.  I did all of this while working forty hours a week at my other job.  I am not afraid to work, I have worked for everything that I have wanted to accomplish and I have never been one to back down from an invaluable opportunity to further promote and add to my creative talents.

This past spring I was eagerly researching clubs at NCSU and came across the Art to Wear organization.  After emailing the individual in charge I was invited to attend the Fashion Show – and what an experience that was!  I saw that day everything that I had envisioned as an outlet for my creative talents.  Art + Design Students and Textile Students had come together to create the most astounding visual artistic “eye-candy” I had seen in a long while!  Those designers were me!  I looked up at that runway and I saw the potential for the future.  I want to join that club this fall and contribute anything and everything I can.

I chose NCSU’s College of Art + Design over Appalachian State University, East Carolina University and the Corcoran College of Art + Design not only because it is such a competitive school but also too because it would offer me a bit of everything that complimented all of my various and unique interests.  (And how could I possibly say no to a University that admires William Ivey Long!) 

As I progress in my studies through NCSU Art + Design program I hope to one year study abroad in either Japan or France.  I chose Japan or France due to their major influences and abundance of appreciation for costumes and fashion.  In Japan, the traditional Kimono and costumes of Kabuki have always fascinated me, while also at the Harajuku district you find a fusion and runway of traditional & original – Lolitas, Goth, major designers mixed with second hand clothes; we can find Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Yoji Yamamoto mixed in with Vivienne Westwood!  In France, we can’t help but see those runways run abundant, major fashion designers we love to love supported by the Parisian society among others – John Galliano,  Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior and more make themselves so comfortably at home there with their artistic creations.  As well as travel abroad I would also like to gain as much experience in my intended fields outside of the classroom before graduation as possible through various intern opportunities. 

I can honestly say with the most humble sincerity and a slight blush to my cheeks that I will in my life be a designer of costumes and fashion.  On what level I can not say but I want to aim for the top.  I want my name to be out there and be the best that it can be.  I want to take with me from my time at North Carolina State University’s School of Art + Design a chance to take what I know and learn and what is natural to me, being an artist and designer, and to positively give back and contribute to society what has so readily and enjoyably been a part of my life - design.

I want nothing more than to design and create art in my life. As Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”