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SVA Creators spotlights various SVA alumni, their impact on social media, and how their work thrives and flourishes on the medium. Second in the SVA Creators series is artist, sculptor, animator, and director Jim Mckenzie (BFA 2011 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects) whose vast body of work ranges from surrealist paintings, to stop motion films, and toy design.
Check out his Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/jimmckenzie/
Check out his Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJimMcKenzie/
Check out his website here: https://www.jimmckenzieart.com/
In our ongoing video series, SVA Creators, we put the spotlight on alumni who have crafted their own brand, established a notable following on social media and creatively leveraged that platform to become influential and independent creators.
Our latest creator is alumnus and multimedia artist Jim McKenzie (BFA 2011 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), who is best known for his 2016 video, “The Scarecrow,” which depicts the lengthy process of making a finished sculpted piece. Directed and shot by McKenzie, this six-minute video attracted both national and international attention by leveraging visual platforms like YouTube to show off the process of making art. “[The video] just shows all of the tiny details that go into this piece, that you might not see from just looking at a picture of it,” said McKenzie of why the clip went viral.
The process is vital for McKenzie and is his greatest source of joy, so with each video, he tries a new creative approach to documenting that process. His most recent upload takes on a stop motion approach. “I am painting [the sculpture], taking a picture, painting it a little bit more, taking another picture. And then, making it into a smooth animation,” shares McKenzie. “It’s a DIY approach to it, where you can see how these pieces are being made.”
Hoping to inspire young artists, McKenzie aims to demystify the process and teach along the way. “The Scarecrow” became a big sensation upon release and afforded him great exposure around the world. During his visit to China, McKenzie was shocked by how far across the globe social media had carried his character. “I [was] just amazed that by posting one video, I [could] get all these opportunities and all these people looking at this one piece,” he said.
With a million eyeballs vying for consideration in the attention economy, McKenzie says it’s crucial to make your mark. “Nowadays, everyone is looking at Instagram, they’re looking at YouTube for inspiration, and it’s your job as an artist to give it to them.” He urges artists to post and take advantage of the reach that social media can offer. “No one’s going to come knocking on your door to buy your work if they haven’t seen it.”