Mark McKenzie grew up in sunny Jamaica, and one may wonder how this Caribbean genius became one of the top ice artists in the world. The sounds and sights of Jamaica had a profound influence on his creativity. He started pencil drawing the stunning scenery of Negril while sitting on his veranda. Every day he would copy different natural elements of Jamaica from its beaches, mountains and valleys, until these scenes were imprinted in his memory.
He had fond childhood memories of music and booming stereo systems filling the streets of Montego Bay. These sounds inspired him to become a bass player. And it was the tastes and smells of his mom and dad’s Jamaican home-cooking that sparked his chef’s palate.
The young future artist grew up surrounded by ingenuity. His mother worked as a dressmaker, and his father a painter and a carpenter. Both of his parents cooked for the family, and everyone would delight and marvel at their exquisite culinary gifts. Mark’s artistic parents were supportive and encouraged his innate talent and interest in the arts and food.
In 1990, Mark graduated from Anchovy High School in St. James, Jamaica. His secondary studies involved an intense focus on art and nutrition, earning him an honorary certificate. That same year he was awarded an internship at the prestigious Sandals Resort in Montego Bay. It was at Sandals where the young chef found his love of ice sculpture.
A two-week internship soon turned into a job offer as a pantry cook at Sandals. One fateful day, he noticed the chef he worked for carving an ice sculpture. Mark watched him sculpting the ice, and he knew that he could do this. A few days later, the young 19-year-old eyed a block of ice sitting outside.
Leaving the kitchen, he marched into the chef’s office and took his chainsaw. The first image that came to Mark’s mind was that of a fish. Mark could draw exceptionally well and form pictures in his head. He chiseled the shape of the fish into the block of ice. Nervously, he didn’t know what to expect, since the entire staff would notice his impromptu sculpture. To his delight, everyone showered him with words of praise. And that was how he got his start in becoming one of the top ice sculptors in the world!
Whatever you imagine hardens into reality.
This piece depicts beautiful natural scenery as a hummingbird hovers over flowers. With its wings spread, the ice bird delicately floats. Miraculously, the artist captures movement as you feel the bird’s wings flapping in the air, and you forget that the ice is still.
After numerous competitions and artistic displays, Mark made his way to Florida in 2017, and created the company called Ice and Fruits located in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Ice and Fruits provides customized carvings created out of fruits, vegetables and ice for any occasion. The ice carvings include lights, delivery and set up! You can find out more information at http://www.iceandfruits.com.
So if you ever need a person to cater an event, sculpt ice and play the music for it too, get in touch with Mark McKenzie, our very own local Jamaican Renaissance man.
Megan Rebecca is a classical pianist, singer, composer, writer and music promoter. She holds a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance. As a performer, Megan has played at many local venues and theaters as both a classical and contemporary performer. She has performed at clubs such as the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, Jazid in South Beach, and has given recitals at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Megan Rebecca is active in the music community as a performer and arts activist and has published articles on music, education and travel. She has also published a thesis comparing and contrasting the music of Disney and Japanese anime.