“I have always had a fascination with rocks and minerals. The natural beauty of the polished rocks displayed in stores and used in jewelry was very alluring when I was young. I remember as a child, dragging my mom and dad into every gem and mineral shop we walked by on the plaza, and I was constantly on the lookout when we traveled for new and interesting rocks that I could collect. Learning how to carve stone gave me a happiness I wish to share with the world.”
“I build my sculptures on the fly, my decision making being a combine effort of experience as a sculptor, as an artist, and of decision making aimed at creating aesthetically pleasing forms. I am looking to show off the natural beauty of the stones I work with, while using the natural characteristics I find in the rocks to help determine shape and form. Every sculpture is different because every rock is different, unique in its own experience. I put my heart, and my soul, my life experience into every creation, with the intention of creating something beautiful, something amazing, something that I will love.”
“When you spend as much time as it takes to create one of these pieces, you build a relationship with the stone. You fight with it, you tell it your thoughts, and you share your emotions with it. This relationship can be found in every piece I create, with the story changing from piece to piece. I love to create, and it is this love that I wish to put out there to share with the world.”
Mike McKee was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1982, to family with a history of building and engineering in the US and in other countries. Mike attended the New Mexico Military Institute for 4 years of high school before moving to Hawaii on what he now calls a type of “hiatus” for two and a half years. It was after moving home to Santa Fe and enrolling in the College of Santa Fe that Mike “found” art. He has been working as a sculptor ever since.
“I discovered that I really enjoyed creating art during my first art class at the New Mexico Military Institute. My rank was private, and I was in my second year at the Institute. I was fifteen years old and sitting in a small, stale feeling classroom with a salty old art teacher in the bottom of one of the antique buildings on post. It was my favorite class. I rediscovered art after living in Hawaii for two years upon graduating from NMMI. I had moved back home to Santa Fe and enrolled in art classes at the local college, and really fell head long into the art world. I was excited about what I was learning and looked forward to going to class every day. When I took my first subtractive sculpture class and learned the basics of carving and finishing stone, I knew this was what I wanted to major in. “
“I spent hours in the sculpture studio, experimenting with shapes and form, and different levels of finishing. My teachers were giving me great feedback on what I was creating, which helped motivate me to push the stone further and further. I was immersed in this new world of art, and it was very exciting. School was a great place to grow and experiment with art, with process, and to begin to live the life of an artist.”
“I worked as an apprentice in the foundry business during college, to an artist that continues to teach me more and more about sculpture and sculpting. School introduced me to art and art process, my apprenticeship allowed me to gain experience through blood, sweat and practice, as an all-around sculptor. What I didn’t know at first, was that my hours spent grinding bronze, replicating textures, and making it look like the finished bronze had manifested itself out of the foundry in one complete and perfect piece, would directly translate into my stone carving. The process and techniques used to chase and finish metal use the same general concepts when carving and finishing stone. It was a perfect fit.”