When were you born and where did you grow up? Describe your upbringing and your perspective on life coming up? What were some of your early influences?
I was born in Toronto, and grew up in Whitchurch-Stouffville. The stories my father told made me aware of the bigger world outside our 3 stoplight town, it instilled a need to explore and question things. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I recognized my earliest artistic influence. It has to be a painting my grandfather had made which my mother had hanging in our dining room. It depicts a fisherman in a stormy sea with what I imagine to be a huge smile under his beard. Rough waters make great sailors.
What led you to craftwork? What is it that motivates you to create? How does your approach differ from what we may have seen out and about?
I started working for a friends' father the summer I was 15, acting mostly as a gofer and keeping the site clean. From there I began taking on small jobs while being yelled at in French. I think what motivates me to create are the ideas that I have rolling around my head, and them needing to become 3D, needing to be realized. Sometimes they are good ideas and work, sometimes they aren’t - but you can go from there. You get the old ideas out so new ones can fit in. I believe I bring an artistic approach whilst remaining technically sound, I found my imagination exceeded my abilities, so I went and studied under a master craftsman. Now I blend old world techniques with the new world to create lasting pieces.
What are some of your interests outside of carpentry that we might not expect?
Outside of furniture I like to paint abstracts, its a healthy messy break from the cleanliness of wood which requires a different type of concentration.
What books are you reading at the moment?
Much like my work I tend to have a few books on the go, I just finished “Blood in my Eye” by George Jackson. I’m now reading “I’ll be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara and ’The man called Noon” by Louis L’amour.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
I love all musical genres but currently I’m listening to Brentt Cobb.
You have an incredibly unique personal style that we’ve come to appreciate. What are some gems in your closet in where did you come across them?
Why thank you! But I can’t take the credit, I just lifted my fathers' style. I have a great fisherman sweater I found while traveling the Highlands of Scotland many years ago.
You’ve travelled to many countries? What’s something you that has resonated deeply with you in your travels?
I've been very lucky to experience different cultures in a plethora of countries. However, the experience I truly carry with me happened in the mountains of Thailand where I received a traditional tattoo from a priest. Now this wasn’t some bamboo stick job on the beach while drinking Singha’s. This involved hours of meditation where the priest reads your aura and decides what he will put on you, a sacrifice (a chicken that was eaten that night) and a room full of the temples followers chatting while he pecks away. 4 hours later he spat fire and rubbed fresh leaves on my raw body while my translator told me the piece he picked was for a fellow artist. Thus ending one of my worst and best experiences and on tough creative days I think back on it.
Here's what McKay is rockin'