Updated: Jul 13

Passion. The want, the lust, the desire. The intense feeling, the conviction and the single-minded focus that fuels the willpower to overcome even the most daunting of obstacles or fears. Its rewards are unbelievable. It is the difference between mediocracy and unbound success.

Passion exists in individual forms as an aspiration or a longing. It also exists as a collective drive of tribal proportion. As every nation knows, harnessing this extraordinary energy is so compelling and powerful, the Italians for women, the French for wine, the Welsh for rugby, just some stereotypical cliches we associate with passion. No matter what it is, passion is as strong as ever, and exists far and wide.

There is nothing more passionate than the united Welsh nation on match day when they host one of the formidable home nation teams at the Millennium Stadium. The rousing male voice choirs uplifting the hopes of the viewers, the roar of the crowd, the colour red, all feeding the passion of many willing the few who represent all, to succeed.

The individual whose passion is the drive behind them becoming a better person as they rise above others in achievement in an activity that excites them. The excitement becomes the passion, and the passion forms the drive to achieve more.

Once you have it, it is the sole reason that makes you get up in the morning and physically move towards your dream, your goal. It ensures that you put one step in front of the other, ticking off the menial activities that allow you to focus on that one aim, which may very well be somewhere in the distant future, or be so far removed from reality, that others do not believe in it or just cannot see it. But the passion deep inside you to succeed, firmly routes you to that pathway and each step you take.

Passion can lead to all kinds of success and self fulfilment for an individual or a team. It can also very easily become a curse and destroy many aspects of life. Treat it with care and respect and apply it to the skills you want to improve or the goal you wish to achieve.

Having a passion for something specific rather than carrying out an action or an activity just for the money, often results in having a more positive and greater outlook on life. The rewards are genuine and lasting with such a simple mindset.

So, who has passion? The answer lies somewhere in the notion that passion is a feeling for something deep within. It is a want, a desire, it is not something that is taught. Facts and figures are taught and create knowledge. The desire to want to know more of these in a particular area, is the very passion that will make you achieve more than the person just relying on absorbing the facts and figures alone. The passionate person will apply these facts and figures in a more fulfilling way.

Can passion make you rich? The question here is the measure of being rich. Having a passion about something adds value to what you do. You have a reason to do it and a sense of purpose. It creates depth to your activity. Passion will increase your knowledge. In applying it in circumstances with others, it brings value in your activity for those with you. If value in your chosen activity is a measure of richness, then yes, passion most definitely makes you rich.

Success very much depends on being passionate as it gives a sense of worthiness to the achievement. The passion makes you get up in the morning and walk or run down that road to wherever your dream is. Most of the time, this is a never-ending road. And so it should be, because if you achieve something very easily and in a short time, where is the challenge now which made you get up in the morning? What are you going to get up for the following morning?

Then of course, there is the passion for another person. Somebody, somewhere becoming the attention of your desire, your lust, your boundless zeal for them. Another temptation that can push you to the extreme, blinkered by your focus.

Do you need passion in life? Well, if you have not experienced it, and I imagine there are very few who have not, then perhaps if this is you, then no. But, once bitten, it is there forever. How it manifests itself, is determined by the focus and the desire in your life.

Whether aimed at a person, a team, a career goal, or a hobby, apply it in full and experience it becoming your guardian angel, guiding your efforts and commitment to help you achieve your aim like never before.

“The Land of Passion – Gwlad Llawn Angerdd” depicts a country of passionate individuals, united by their desire for victory on the pitch, in the classroom, and in love. Represented by a history of being second, downtrodden and forgotten, by aspiring beyond the status quo, this painting represents every individual passionate thought, action and achievement, and the subsequent unification of a nation.

Passion. Nurture it, control it, and it will bring endless value to your life.

Ian Mackenzie

#ianmackenzieart #everypicturetellsastory #photorealism #welshart #welshartist #thestorytellingartist #cardiffart #luxuryart #luxuryartwork #luxuryartist #luxuryarts #luxuryartcollection #luxuryartpieces#artluxury #luxuryliving #luxuryhome #luxuryitems #luxurycollection #luxuryshopping #novafineart #halcyongallery #halcyongallerylondon #artcollectors #artcollectorsoftheworld #artcollectorsdubai #artcollectorsoninstagram #artcollectorslondon #artcollectorsmagazine #fineartcollectors #internationalartcollector

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Updated: Jul 13

This is a sneak preview of artwork that I am releasing this week. The reason I want to share this with you before it is finished is because of the overwhelming feeling that I had when I reached a particular stage of it today, and the influence of certain music that was very prominent in this afternoon’s studio work.

I am not sure which inspired which today, the music or the art. But I reached the make-or-break point of this piece of artwork, and it crossed my mind that the next stroke of the brush could very well kill it right there in the next few seconds.

If it went well, I knew it would be special. If it went badly, the picture would not be completely lost, but the struggle I have endured in deciding on the mixture of colour and tone, would be unsurmountable. This may therefore become one of those ‘experimental’ moments of art, and I knew my idea was worth so much more than just a notional comment to myself that I could have done better as I place it in the rear of the cupboard, never to see daylight again.

I had a deadline to meet which you may understand, so there was no going back once I made the move.

I had spent some time daydreaming, trying to solve the issue between the flat sculpture tones that I had created, and the contrast that would exist with the background that I needed in some way to complement the figure. The deadline loomed and the rose-tinted glasses let through a glint of a possibility. I reached for some music and stepped up to the canvas, making my mark with the paint I had half-heartedly mixed whilst my mind wandered.

That mark that would hold me to account for years to come, I am sure of it. This was the one mark I needed to be right. All my experience, all my storytelling coming together in one exciting movement, immersed in trepidation and desire. The need to finally create modern contemporary artwork that someone would want without hesitation and want with the desire that I have for creating the image before me.

The mark was made. I turned to turn the music to something else and looking back from an angle with a wry smile, I knew the music that I would play. The three songs that yesterday I told my son Connor would be my heart beating, rhythm setting, motivational creating songs. And they came, one after the other, hitting me like the body blows of impact sport facing a formidable opponent, when the odds are against you and the terms of the fight mean far more than just that next technique, so you therefore take the blows until your moment presents itself.

"Tonight is What it Means to be Young" comes first, setting the pace. This is followed by "Teenage Wildlife", both being lesser-known songs that are not played on commercial radio. Therefore, they fill my studio with good intent and personal motivation, feeding the passion of my self-indulgence, reminding me that they are my songs and not for sharing.

The third emotionally uplifting sound complements my creativity as I take stock and listen as "Jungleland" engages a third gear, and the problem of colour and complement dissipate being quickly replaced by excitement and enthusiasm.

If you know of these songs, who sings them, and the feeling that the three combined together can create, then you'll know exactly the artwork that I had just imagined, sketched and set alight with my passion and desire.

I stand before the canvas, emotionally charged and willing my work to come alive as I apply another layer of depth, being led by the musical atmosphere of my studio. A few more layers, a couple of adjustments and this painting will be ready to be revealed, my thoughts tell me.

One more day and it will be there, just in time for a particular deadline.

And in sight of the finish line, I just had to share this with you, the emotional drive of music and art coming straight from my soul, in true pursuit of creative excellence and the journey it is taking me on. Nothing can replace that moment, that feeling, that addiction.


#ianmackenzieart #everypicturetellsastory #photorealism #welshart #welshartist #thestorytellingartist #cardiffart #luxuryart #luxuryartwork #luxuryartist #luxuryarts #luxuryartcollection #luxuryartpieces #artluxury #luxuryliving #luxuryhome #luxuryitems #luxurycollection #luxuryshopping #novafineart #halcyongallery #halcyongallerylondon #artcollectors #artcollectorsoftheworld #artcollectorsdubai #artcollectorsoninstagram #artcollectorslondon #artcollectorsmagazine #fineartcollectors #internationalartcollector

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Updated: Jul 13

“The Storytelling Artist – The Road to Controversial Art”

by Ian Mackenzie

A Book Influenced by Rod Stewart

Intro by Mike Walton

Last week we can across a book of art by Ian Mackenzie that was partly influenced by Rod and even had chapters named after some of Rod’s songs.

We contacted Ian to find out more and discovered Ian had a really interesting story to tell that ends with him getting his artwork on Rod’s wall in his Essex mansion.

The book itself has become a No 1 BEST SELLER on AMAZON, even keeping Tracey Emin, CBE at number 2!. Here Ian gives SMILER an exclusive glimpse into his book and his passion for Rod’s music.

The music meandered from my father’s radio, crackling as the signal waned and the voice drowned with every sheet of rain that hit the window of the back room in our small terraced house, in a little town somewhere in South Wales. Water appeared on the inside of the sill that would usually cause me alarm. However, it was the music that occupied my thoughts right now. The voice, the melody, it was different. I had heard it before as a deep-seated consciousness reminded me. This was a very distinct and really exciting sound.

Little did I know then that what I was listening to would be such an influence in my life. That the very words, the meaning, the grit and the soul, would guide and impact me like nothing else. The passion, the desire, the will to exist just to hear this voice, resonated deeper than any emotion before. The lyrics were so bountiful and expressive, and the voice undeniably unique. Mind you, I had no idea what the song actually meant. But there again, interpreting it is personal as I soon discovered, just like the interpretation of a painting.

My first experience of the voice of Rod Stewart had occurred, and as he started to appear occasionally on our black and white tv, I knew he was different. An image to aspire to, a sound to fill every part of my life, a melody for every moment, and subsequently, several song titles for chapters in my book.

With countless gigs attended over decades of following my passion for the music of Rod Stewart, a collection of every album released, and a particularly different journey than most to becoming an oil painting portrait artist, I found myself being encouraged to describe this life path and how I came to paint luxury and controversial artwork.

In doing so, “The Storytelling Artist – The Road to Controversial Art” was written, and the influence of this man and his music is described in the following paragraphs, with song titles and lyrics used to illustrate certain times and particular emotions in my semi-autobiographical book, taking the reader on an emotional and humorous journey to the creation of my contemporary art.

Skipping directly to Part Three: ‘Scarred and Scared’ covers a section of my life growing up with the difficulties of teenage years, being different, dressing in clothes that placed you out of the mainstream, and of course being the only youth in your town with a fantastic Rod Stewart haircut.

When it came to a particular life changing incident, there was only ever going to be one title to aptly describe that evening. “Tonight’s the Night” found its way to the top of the page for Chapter 8, as I wrote the account that defined my drive, my commitment and forged my resilience to this very day. However, unlike Rods lyrical description of his seduction of a beautiful female, the title to this chapter encumbers the horrific attack on me in a nightclub as a 16-year-old that left me scarred and scared for so long after. Loving the music was one thing, dressing and looking like Rod was another in my town, and I paid the price that night.

Chapter 9 which follows, is the soul-searching time spent hidden away, seeking solitude in my art and music, trying to find a way to become who I wanted to be, and not what society seemed to be forcing me towards with this physical attack and my subsequent insecurity and loss of confidence.

“Reason to Believe” refers to a step towards redemption and believing in myself to take just one pace. This resulted in me becoming one of the highest graded martial arts practitioners in an organization, a feat to this day I cannot believe. Furthermore, it forged a route into a successful police career, as I aimed to ensure that other individuals and groups did not become victims as I did.

Part Five of my book is aptly named Every Picture Tells a Story, as now being an artist with a catalogue of photorealism art as a reference, I have an abundance of stories to tell about each piece. From straight forward portraits to luxury and controversial artwork, each has a meaning behind it, a reason why I created it and, in some cases, an intriguing account of how the artwork came to be. And there is none more descriptive than in Chapter 22 “Rod, Penny, and the Artist from Wales”.

The lazy Sunday afternoon in front of the tv, a nudge from my wife, and the start of artwork that ended up at the Stewarts estate, is an occurrence that will live with me forever. Capturing their pet dog Bubbles on canvas in a photorealism oil painting style took time. But like most portraits, with the intricate detail I like to create, it became a labour of love, and this chapter describes in full the adventure it took me on, culminating in Rods gig in 2019 at Milton Keynes.

With other references within the book describing certain moments, such as the line “Aim high, reach for the sky, how you gonna know unless you try” from Farewell, it was only fitting that one final chapter title just had to be included in my story.

“Never Give Up on a Dream” became the title for Chapter 32. And unlike the use of song titles to tell my story which is different to the penned lyrics, these heartfelt emotional lines are true to me, my troubles, and my journey of finding encouragement and turning negativity into positive results.

“No force on earth could stop you run, when your heart bursts like the sun….” could not sum up better the way I have been able to now approach life. When you capture so much excitement from a positive act or a kindness from another, and it makes you want to fill your lungs with fresh air and run like never before, or an emotion that fills your heart, so aptly described by these lyrics, there is nothing greater in life.

“Push yourself until the end, but don’t you ever give up on your dream” continually resonated with me as I wrote this last chapter and challenged the reader to become better than they currently are, seeking that dream they always wanted, and to fulfil it regardless of their past.

If in reading this, or even my book, I am able to motivate one person to change and see the positive aspects of their life, the opportunities and the help that is in the world around them, then just like the undeniably fantastic music of Rod that fills my veins, my heart and my very soul, my aim is achieved. Life is worth just so much more, and for me, the music we share is well and truly part of my life.


“The Storytelling Artist – The Road to Controversial Art” by Ian Mackenzie

This book is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle formats.

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