Fenris Wolf and Ragnar Thorfinn is an artist collective consisting of James Alexander McKenzie and Daniel O’Dempsey as abiding contributors and includes anyone that the pair collaborate with when operating as Fenris Wolf and Ragnar Thorfinn. It is a vehicle for experimentation, collaboration and developing ideas within the realms of fine art, performance art, spoken word, poetry, music, and theatre.


The collective was founded in 2019 when McKenzie and O’Dempsey undertook a collaborative artist residency with the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney in partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy awarded through the RSA Residencies for Scotland scheme. During their residency, McKenzie and O’Dempsey developed an experimental play also titled Fenris Wolf and Ragnar Thorfinn. Collaborating with local musicians for Acts 1 and 2, they exhibited each of their three acts at different venues in Stromness for the Orcadian public during October 2019. They also developed a podcast series titled Red Lite Radio during their residency which they distributed through Soundcloud.


On viewing Edward Summerton RSA’s artwork Safe House at the Ages of Wonder exhibition at the RSA in 2017, McKenzie realized the collective could utilise it on their residency. Safe House is a two-person tent with accompanying manifesto stipulating that RSA Residencies recipients can use the tent for shelter during their residency; Fenris Wolf and Ragnar Thorfinn were the first artists to engage with the work in this way. In addition to using the tent in practical terms when between accommodation in Stromness, and during their expedition away from the mainland, the pair used Safe House as a prop in their play and recorded Red Lite Radio episodes from within.


James Alexander McKenzie’s work encompasses painting, poetry, performance art, installation, spoken word and theatre. Drawing from an expansive pool of source material that includes personal experiences, his methodology is characterised by intuition and spontaneity. In his avant-garde stage-act performances, which is the prevailing manifestation of his practice, he blends theatre, poetry, spoken word and stand-up. Dry humour; parody; absurdity: these are trademarks of his writing and performance work. McKenzie has been the recipient of several awards and has exhibited his work widely in Scotland. He is featured in several private and public collections. He graduated from Dundee University in 2017 and studied for a period at Goldsmiths University between 2021 and 2022.


Daniel O’Dempsey is an exuberant character interested in the pursuit of storytelling. Using his multifaceted creative practice as a canoe shaped vessel he navigates rivers and valleys as he rallies in the world around. O’Dempsey invites people in by expressing conversation through whatever means his impulses deem necessary. He thrives on collaboration. Often there is a running social commentary of some form at play in his work inspired by his own experience and maintains an element of mindful

meditation that is naturally ingrained within his process of making. O’Dempsey is spontaneous and childlike, he reflects and celebrates the simple fact of being alive, building on this foundation using lego bricks and bamboo sticks. O’Dempsey has received awards as an artist and a producer, both in Scotland and England and has artwork in several private collections. O’Dempsey graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2018 and is a director for Liverpool’s largest artist-led studios, The Royal Standard.