30 Days of Women: Carsyn Taylor McKenzie

Carsyn McKenzie


The best and most interesting part of this project so far has been how many people of reached out. Not just for themselves but for people they know are amazing as well. That's exactly how I came across today's lovely feature.
On more than one occasion since moving back to Milwaukee I've heard the name Carsyn plenty of times.
From just being a great person to being extremely talented. People have praised her work.
That's another reason why doing this is so important.
Its not to just help people recognize themselves, its to help people recognize greatness all around them.

-Flow Johnson


How old are you and where are you from?

24. Milwaukee, Wisc.

What's your favorite thing about Milwaukee?

The art & music culture.

What keeps you here?

The thought that I can actually make a positive change on the environment around me.

How did you start your magazine?

It started off at MIAD as Lexi’s class project that we collaborated on. She wrote the article and I put it in a layout. We showed it to our homies and they were like “Why is this not a real thing? We need this in Milwaukee.” Then we decided to make it a real thing and just kept making it bigger and better every year. (copywritemag.com)

How do you and the co-founder work/live and do so much together without getting on each others nerves?

We do get on each others nerves (all the time). We’re completely opposite in most ways. However, I do think we balance each other out.

The biggest thing we understand is that sometimes you have to pick your battles.

How big is your staff?

Our core staff is five people but our connections are vast. Our CopyWrite Connects (what we call any CW family) range from visual artists, photographers, musicians, writers, educators and more. Everyone that supports CopyWrite is considered family.

Do you find yourself covering or working with more female artist?

Not in particular however I’m all for collaborating and meeting amazing female artists.

What's your profession outside of the magazine?

I’m an art director for an advertising agency (BVK) and also do freelance design work for a wide variety of clients. My day-to-day creative life changes by the hour but it’s pretty awesome. I go from working on nationwide campaigns to websites to logos to a social post to a bus stop, etc...

Is it harder being a person of color in the workplace or female?

Yes? I think there’s cultural differences and struggles being a bi-racial woman in a “white man’s” industry. Does that stop me from getting up and working my butt off? Hell no.

Do you have a lot of creative freedom at work?

It depends on the client actually. Some projects I can be completely expressive and create whatever I want. Others I am restricted to brand guidelines and structure set by a number of different elements.

Who motivates and inspires you most in your life?

My family and friends are huge motivators and inspiration. They keep me creating because either they’re creatives themselves or they just simply remind me that my journey in life will always have something to do with art. Their encouragement plus some self-determination reminds me that I can’t stop.

Some other inspirations include: Urban & Pop Culture. 50s to 60s Art (Post-Modernism & Abstract Expressionism). Hip-Hop. Graffiti. Pharrell. Typography. My late high school art teacher Mrs. Hader.

What's a personal struggle that you face daily?

My own standard for what things need to be. I have extremely high standards for all the things in my life.

Does Milwaukee's lack of diversity weigh on you?

Yes. I could go on a rant about this topic but I’ll keep it simple.

I’ve been blessed to have a very diverse upbringing and just a natural inclination to know more about the people and culture around me. I often struggle to understand how Milwaukee is still “stuck” in this void but I see the conflicting battles.   

What's a misconception about working as a creative?

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions. A big one for me is time. I feel like as a working creative (and working for clients) the value of your time is brought up a lot.

I just want everyone (creatives & clients) to understand how important and valuable time is and that things are not as always as simple as just a “few clicks.”

Do you keep a good group of creatives to work with?

Yes. I have some amazing and talented individuals that I work with and collaborate with.

Who's an inspiration here for you?

My grandma, Kenzie (Sue). She’s the best and my favorite person. She reminds me everyday that I have to continue to learn, grow and be a genuinely kind person while doing it.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

To be honest, I have no clue. I don’t like to think that far ahead and I can’t tell you what CopyWrite is up to next (that’s classified). However for the next five years, I plan on traveling (A LOT), growing my craft and business, moving, learning some new skills/talents and meeting some amazing people on the way. I hope that brings me more happiness, love and success. I think that’s all I can really hope for.

How do you plan to get there?

Lots of planning, adjusting to the elements that I’m in and asking for help when I need it (that’s important).

The brand of the magazine, how do you want it remembered?

As a brand that showcases the artistic potential throughout their community and beyond.

How open to collaboration are you?

I’m all for it. I collaborate everyday in work and in life.

Last 5 songs played?

Graceland - Allan Rayman

Down - Marian Hill

The Light - Common

Block - J-Lamo

4u/Lately - Jay Prince

Last time you laughed so hard it hurt?

Though I can’t remember what she said. It was something Lexi said it the car… I just remember laughing so hard, I cried.

Favorite movie of all time?

I don’t know if I can pick. Let’s go with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It’s a classic.


Photography By Mahdi Gransberry