Peter MacKennan Artwork

Peter MacKennan

Artist

I began my professional career as a puppeteer at age 7, performing at birthdays, libraries and later in the parks of Dutchess County, NY. Drawing inspiration from the folklore and fauna of the Hudson Valley, I cultivated a whimsical and abiding love of animals, nature and storytelling. 

At Sarah Lawrence College I Studied literature, printmaking and painting. Graduating 1985, I moved to New York City, where I worked with the first of many great mentors, the late Theatrical Designer Kermit Love at his Great Jones Studio; building puppets and costumes for theater, television and film.

In 1997, I accepted a position at Jim Henson Productions on the staff of Sesame Street. During eight years at Henson - including six seasons on Sesame I was a Senior Puppet Designer, installed exhibitions, led workshops and performed as a puppeteer. I was Assistant Workshop Supervisor on the films A Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, and managed the workshop for the first season of Jim Henson's Animal Show. I received two Emmy® Awards for my work on Sesame Street.

From 1995 to 1997, I attended the Yale School of Art, earning a MFA in painting and printmaking. 

From 1998 to 2005 I was a Creative Director in the Global Products Division of Sesame Workshop, the licensors of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales and Sagwa, among others. I worked closely with the publishing group and oversaw categories including gift, specialty and home video. I also worked frequently with the live events division, overseeing characters for Sesame Street Live and Sesame Place.

Enticed by a broad roster of character brands including Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barney and Angelina Ballerina, I moved in 2005 to HIT Entertainment where I was Creative Director in the Creative Resources Group. I continued to develop products and content for North America and abroad, and was instrumental in developing The Barney 30th Birthday Bus Tour. I also worked on the popular event A Day Out With Thomas, as well as the launch of Thomas Town® at Six Flags in New England and California. 

I left HIT in 2006 and reunited with former Henson colleague Paul Andrejco, founder of the Hoboken based workshop Puppet Heap, where I remain currently employed as Production Coordinator & Senior Artist.

I continue to paint and draw in my home studios in New York City and Upstate NY. My current work, in oil, combine the following subjects: images from my travels (often landscape) musicians whose work I admire, still life and figure.