ONE OF OUR HINTERLAND’s AMAZING ARTIST

CHRIS MCKENZIE

The Sculpture of Life

By Bobbie Richardson

Driving Macca

Large-scale Indigenous sculptures run through the veins of this man. Chris McKenzie or ‘Macca’ realises his passion as an artist by living in the moment.

Macca had a yearning to draw from a very young age. In those days a grandfather would give a child a knife to whittle wood and learn the ways of handling sharp objects. For Macca those beginnings would shape his choice of tools of trade for the future. He was moved and inspired by other Indigenous artists who were able to express raw simplicity in their work. Large scale paintings and monumental sculpture excited him the most.

Life lessons

Macca lists his many professions as sculptor, painter, teacher, boxer, and Executive Director of The National Save the Bilby Foundation (self appointed, he says with a chuckle). But he sees his greatest achievement as discovering the art of creating his own life.  Learning self-love and how to live in the moment has helped him drive away old demons. His key life lessons are about giving thanks, praising others, and creating instead of criticising, complaining and destroying. Hard work and endurance, and never shying away from a challenge are also keys to his success.

In living by these principles Macca has found himself becoming a teacher, helping to shape other peoples’ lives, in the same way as he sculpts the stone and rock of his artwork. He uses his life lessons to support young people and help them to realise their creative potential. Macca has incorporated these lessons into a system called the 5 Acts Skillset, which is sought after by companies wanting to develop their leaders.

Macca’s Art

Macca creates very large stone sculptures aimed at businesses seeking to invest in the arts. He creates unique monuments that he is able to imbue with the essence, beauty and energy of the world around him, while still producing very high quality pieces that will withstand weather and time.

Macca would like to see the Australian government supporting artists to create large scale artworks as is the case in Europe, China and the United Sates, as this would raise the profile of this type of work. But he also recognises the need for Australian artists to step up and become more professional in order to be taken more seriously by the business world. He is a strong advocate of the notion ‘think globally, act locally’.    

The crazy side

As we chat in the local pub I’m moved by Macca’s humility, and I also observe threads of commonality with other artists who operate from that ‘other’ dimension, somewhere on the edge of reality.  He confides he can sometimes come across as a little ‘out there’, as he plays with and challenges social conformities.  But this edgy personality is what our logical society needs to push the limits and make the changes needed, if we humans are to evolve beyond past social limits.

After all you’ve achieved, what drives you now, Macca?

Enjoying life and having the courage to find that joy within, instead of seeking it in other things, other people and other places.  Seeking enjoyment in the now!

Creativity, Community, Culture