The city's hardest working sculpture talks about his livelihood and living in the city.

"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.

Buddha by Mark Mckenzie

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The Cincinnati skyline and river
    Life

    Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

    “The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

  2. A crowded street outside in Boston
    Life

    Surveillance Cameras Debunk the Bystander Effect

    A new study uses camera footage to track the frequency of bystander intervention in heated incidents in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England.                            

  3. A migrant laborer rides a bicycle past a residential community in Shanghai.
    Equity

    When Affordable Housing in Shanghai Is a Bed in the Kitchen

    In this sector of the city’s informal housing rental market, as many as 24 people can be crammed into a three-bedroom apartment.

  4. Design

    A Hated Expansion of Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Will Go Ahead

    The city council voted to approve an addition to the historic landmark over criticism that the design is “a travesty” and “frankly grotesque.”

  5. Design

    A First-Rate Waterfront Park Is Transforming a Historic Greek City

    Thessaloniki’s New Waterfront is the centerpiece in an effort to transform the local economy, and other cities are taking notice.

×