Mackenzie Thorpe was born as the first of seven children, he initially took on work in the shipyards, his family trade. A suggestion from a friend, however, encouraged him to try to pursue his first love, drawing and painting, at art school. Thorpe went to Byam Shaw College of Art in London, and earned a fine arts degree. His works are associated with a principle of "Art from the heart" - using tenderness with fervency through his abstract depictions of animals and children. Much of his work depicts his childhood growing up in Middlesbrough. Thorpe was awarded the title of best-selling artist in England in 2000. Thorpe also holds an honorary Master of Arts degree, collected in 2000 from his hometown's University of Teesside. In October 2006 Thorpe produced an exhibition of outdoor monumental sculptures in Kansas City, Missouri and intends to take similar concepts to New Zealand, Australia and the UK.