1905 - 1998
Carl McKenzie and granddaughterCarl McKenzie was born near Pine Ridge in Wolfe County Kentucky. Carving was McKenzie's full time occupation. At the age of ten he learned to whittle from his grandfather. He brought his early work to the Daniel Boone Trading Post, a tourist stop near Natural Bridge State Park, and soon it was selling so well that he could not keep up with demand.

Carl was inspired by Edgar Tolson of the Campton school of Appalachian wood carvers. Carl carved the Statue of Liberty, Adam and Eve, topless waitresses, postmen, women playing tennis, nurses, barnyard animals, biblical scenes and families of devils. He used white pine or birch for carving. He made his own brushes from split twigs and then covered his carvings with thick layers of bright paint applied in polka dots or splotches of red, green, yellow and black.

After suffering a stroke in 1992 he spent his last years in a nursing home before passing in 1998.

Exhibitions: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Art Museum - 1994 traveling retrospective of work, titled "The Art of Carl McKenzie"; The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery - February 1 to April 20, 1996, “In Their Own Time: The Art of Carl McKenzie and Adam Brandau”; The Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, Kentucky - December 1996, "Every Picture Tells a Story".

Bibliography: "Detour Art—Outsider, Folk Art, and Visionary Folk Art Environments Coast to Coast, Art and Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Ludwig" by Kelly Ludwig, Kansas City Star Books, 2007; "Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Folk Art and Artists" by Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, New York, 1990; "20th Century American Folk, Self Taught, and Outsider Art" by Betty-Carol Sellen, Cynthia J. Johnson, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1993; "Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources" by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000; "Contemporary American Folk Art - A Collector's Guide" Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, 1996; "American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies" by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.


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Carl McKenzie Statue of Liberty Carl McKenzie Woman

Carl McKenzie Bird Carl McKenzie Bird

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