John McKenzie was born in 1962 in the Philippines. McKenzie moved to the United States with his family in 1964. He currently lives in San Francisco’s Mission District and has been working at Creativity Explored since 1989.
Text functions as the basis of McKenzie’s practice, and is used for both its visual and scriptural qualities. The crowding and shape of the closed and filled intricacies of his calligraphy add depth and material to the work, and allow it to serve simultaneously as a visual image and as poetry. McKenzie’s original script and arrangement of text are tactile examples of his interpretation of the world, and can be both hilarious and poignant.
McKenzie’s process is based on a complex and mysterious repetitive sequencing that methodically adds layers of nuance to his chosen subjects, which are most often people and objects from pop culture, current events, and his immediate surroundings. Swirling, multi-angled, and disorienting, the placement of his language comments on the contradictory, sometimes overwhelming, nature of media attention and celebrity.
He is tirelessly engaged with sorting through the cyclical likes and dislikes of Hollywood, fashion, marketing, and the geo-political. And, like his artwork, the true nature of our information saturated world can be difficult to decode; but, ultimately, what McKenzie’s work reveals is that we are all people, we are all aging, we all like some things and dislike others, we all need to communicate, and isn’t that funny.
McKenzie's work was featured in Create, a traveling exhibition that first opened at University Of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in 2011.Print Bio