"I started off at Sandals Royal Caribbean [resort] in Montego Bay -- I'm Jamaican born -- and I saw the chef making an ice carving one day and I said 'oh, that's real pretty. I think I could do that.' One day I took the tools out and tried to carve something, and it came out good," Mark Mckenzie says.
From there, he describes how he came to New York to open his own shop in Queens. Now he sculpts everything from baby carriages to Buddhas, delivering them to clients all over the city (check out his site for more images). In the short film below from the documentary series New Yorkers, he reflects on his work, conveying a passion that is contagious. The producers of the series express nothing but awe for Mckenzie's workload:
It was also interesting to see Mark's freezer, where he kept many of the sculptures that he is currently working on. He had a bunch of ice carved Buddhas sitting in there. Mark told us that he has a deal with a top Japanese restaurant in downtown Manhattan where he supplies a new ice Buddha every day of the year. Every day. He said he can't go on vacations because he has a deal to deliver a new Buddha 364 days a year. Quite the gig.
New Yorkers is an ongoing series from Moonshot Productions, a passion project completed alongside commercial work. The creators of the series, Erik Hartman, David Rowe, and Douglas Spitzer, discuss it in an interview with the Atlantic Video channel here. You can check out their profiles of a Shaolin monk, a locksmith, a graffiti artist, and more on the Atlantic Video channel.