Laura McKenzie

Illustration BA (Hons)

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I am a Hertfordshire-based freelance Illustrator, recently graduating from the University of Northampton. I love to showcase beauty, inspired by fashion and nature with the aim to push boundaries by exploring thought-provoking themes through my illustrations, from sexism to identity. The themes I frequently explore is the impact politics can have on society. I am increasingly fascinated by the subcultures that formed due to politics, such as the second wave of feminism in the 60’s. Regarding feminism, I think it is extremely important to involve the man as much as possible to reach the ultimate goal of equality. I aim to convey/ encourage a real sense of unity, carried out in a light-hearted but direct way. I like to combine the past with the future, introducing vintage elements in a contemporary style with a rich palette.

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Devil May Care

A zine celebrating gender-fluid fashion

My ultimate goal in making this zine is to give individuals the confidence and explanation they need to let go and be who they want to be, concentrating on ‘Femboys’. A femboy is defined as a young individual biologically born male, but presents themselves femininely. Though the likes of Harry Styles has helped progress this movement, people may not realise the impact the 60’s-90’s had with gender-bending and the iconic names that helped pioneer the movement (Prince, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain etc.…), and that this isn’t something new. However, illustrating the past, showcases in it a positive way, revealing that you’re a part of a community, something much much more significant and exciting than just the cover of Vogue. I hope that this could give the individual a sense of security within who they are, and this is something people have been exploring, even before you were born.



Pending Conversations: The Male Gaze

A series of illustrations which reveal the importance of communication between the sexes/span>

This project is using the novel ‘Invention of Morel’ by Adolfo Bioy Casares as inspiration. When reading the text, I couldn’t help but notice the book’s sexist themes. From researching this, I couldn’t find any mention of this, apart from one mini-essay that touched upon it. Though the book’s focus isn’t about the prejudice against women, I feel that it’s hard to ignore. The topic of sexism between men and women is very different. Some men tend to feel like they’re carrying around the burden of other sexist men in history, making the conversation a lot harder for men to talk about as they want to avoid falling into that category.
This series of images aims to portray the idea of a ‘peeping tom’, but to have the viewers’ perspective change when the last image shows that he was too shy to approach the woman. I hope that this light-hearted approach could spark a conversation between the two sexes for both men and women to feel equal. For anything to improve and raise awareness, communication is key.



Pause the Taboo

Pause the Taboo: Redefinig Menopause

Pause the Tabboo is a collaboration between myself and Illustrator Katie Bell for D&AD Refinery29 and the case for her competition.
Our idea is to create an online platform to create a community for people to help one another through menopause. We are offering a place for people to learn in a relaxed environment. Our platform will involve talking with professionals through our creative, physical and discussion-based workshops. The workshops will be posted on our website so that everyone can access them at a later date or across the globe, with no age or gender limit.
To pioneer our concept, we have created a brand around illustrated postcards; the postcards created by us will be sent out as invitations, allowing you to subscribe to our website ‘Pause the Taboo’. Once you have subscribed, you will receive a creative pack containing everything you need to start your journey with us. This includes; blank postcards, coloured pencils, pens and information you will need in our tailored workshop each month. The event can only be accessed through a link on our postcards. This ensures that we continue to generate a community of like-minded individuals that feel safe and supported. Once received, you can use your blank postcard to create an illustrated invitation to send out to someone you believe would benefit from our online community. You could use the blank postcard for multiple uses; Drawing, scrapbook, images or even your top tips.
Sending your postcards to your friends will create a chain of support, inviting people to come together to pause the taboo.