American artist Shane ‘SnakeChimeZen’ McKenzie creates works that combine high art, music, & the detritus of modern culture: Taking photos, creating noise influenced performance works & sculptures, directing in a variety of styles, & making psychedelic infused experimental music. Bringing to mind fellow multi-medium-makers such as Mike Kelley.
With Shane’s art being modern yet retro, dreamlike, & seemingly calm, yet often shocking.
Born in 1990, & a high school drop-out, like many men of a certain age Shane was initially inspired to create thanks to skateboarding. A medium that exposed him to film, music, and, importantly, working solo to develop a craft.
Now in his early 30s, Shane is living in LA, happily married to fellow artist Parker Love Bowling & creating at a furious pace; both self-directed and in collaboration with others. Such as his recent work on a series of music videos for band ‘Escape Artist Lovers.’
Wanting to get to know him better, we sent Shane some questions to answer over email.
Take a dive into his world, below…
Name & D.O.B?
City, State, & Country you currently call home?
Los Angeles, CA, USA.
City, State, & Country you’re from?
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, writing, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, film, travel, work, crime… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
My younger brother Troy and I started skateboarding in 1996
split my skull open / got 7 staples
went to a lot of Korn concerts
driving across country a few times a year
moving around a lot / always the new kid at school
* Your teenage years:
I dropped out of high school during 9th grade
skateboarding all day / everyday is all I wanted to do
moved in with friends at the state college
started shooting 35mm photos
about 40 times across the country with my family by the time I was 18
* Your 20s:
Started playing guitar / recording my own music
moved to San Francisco to skate with friends
skating everyday + LSD
moved back to LA mid 20’s
guitar + art becomes my main focus
started doing live visuals for lots of bands
making music videos + playing in some bands even solo shows
* Your 30s so far:
Met the love of my life and got married
went to Europe for the first time with my wife
working on art and music as usual / book coming soon
“Two chords good / one chord better.”
What role did toys play in your childhood?
… and any favourite toys you remember?
I didn’t play with toys anymore after I got a skateboard – but YoYo’s were the big thing before that (X-Brain!)
When & why did you first become interested in music, art, film, & everything creative?
… and any pivotal moments / influences regarding each of them?
Skateboard VHS in the 90’s and early 2000s got me into lots of music showed me how you can make things however you want. Alien Workshop and Toy Machine videos were super artistic; so were Consolidated and Anti Hero but they were more funny – Foundation: Art Bars is one of my favorite skate videos + Stereo: Tincan Folklore!
I got my first Polaroid camera for Christmas in 1997.
I still have it
My foot got hurt really bad skating so I started playing guitar around 2010 / 11. I’ve been recoding and creating guitar sounds since then and recoding on VHS; playing guitar through old TVs / creating pendulum music with multiple amps + TVs.
My favorite art installation / performance is from summer 2020: I hung a guitar from a 100 foot long chain off the 10-E freeway and ran the audio out of a few old CRT televisions powered off a city electrical box. Stealing public power and using public structure to create loud and destructive feedback noise. Swinging the guitar as high as it could go under the bridge and slamming it against the TVs.
It was my first public pendulum guitar sound experiment
If you had to explain your creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
I’d just take their picture.
Who are some of your favourite musicians, artists, writers, & filmmakers?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire & move you?
This list could go on for days but here are some people I am fond of:
Ray Johnson: collage king
Jimmy DeSana: No wave photo king bad boy
Michael McClard: Great painter / sculptor / mentor
Nobuyoshi Araki: Black and white photo rope king
Nam June Paik: The TV + video art god
Helmut Newton: Everybody knows how good Helmut is
Chris Burden: He makes me laugh I love him
Duncan Hannah: Lovely paintings – I want one so bad
Christian Marclay: Records and all his stuff rules
Alan Vega: Love his sculptures and music
Amos Poe: No wave film king – my favorite director
The B’s: My favorite film couple – their works rule together and solo
Jon Moritsugu: Nicest guy ever. Love him and Amy Davis.
Gregg Araki: Love the sets – teen apocalypse trilogy rules.
Nick Zedd: Underground god cinema of transgression king.
Steve Hanft: Southlander: Diary of a Desperate Musician is my favorite movie.
Raymond Pettibon: I love his films they are so cool and all on youtube.
Alex Cox: Repo Man is so fucking good.
John Waters: Cecil B Demented is also my favorite movie.
Penelope Spheeris: Suburbia <3.
Hal Hartley: “Flirting leads to harder things” – great writer / film maker.
Richard Kern: His early video work rules.
Acetone: One of the best California bands ever.
Velvet Underground: Best band of all time.
Spacemen 3: Pete Kember is a god.
Felt: Lawrence is a god.
Bowery Electric: They blow my mind.
39 Clocks: German fuzz gods.
Opal: Kendra come down from the mountain.
Charlie Megira: Coolest person I’ve ever seen in real life.
Frank Zappa: Should have been president.
Jonathan Richman: Sweetest man alive.
Velvet Monkeys: 2nd best band ever.
What impact has your wife, Parker Love Bowling had on your personal and artistic life?
… and are you guys currently working on anything together?
I am madly in love with Parker my sweet wife – we are constantly making things together. Taking her picture is my favorite thing to do, we will have a book sooner or later.
I play guitar with her for poetry performances and we plan to make a record.
She is my muse and best friend / my favorite person to work with – she is my hero / I love getting to see her work on her art + writing. She is so inspiring.
I love spending my days with Parker and our dog Townes at home in Los Angeles watching great movies and making art; and we love exploring cemeteries where ever we are.
She is everything to me.
Look out for our new movie review magazine Best Regards coming soon.
If people wanted to check out your stuff, work with you, or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit & how should they get in touch?
For life advice and art inquires email me at email@example.com
To see my photos / video art and more check out @snakechimezen on Instagram
Any upcoming news, projects, or releases you would like to share?
Working on a book of photographs featuring people sleeping on the ground + homeless people / mostly shot in Los Angeles.
Eventually put together an album (not in a rush) of all my demos + guitar loop tapes.
Making music videos for my friends / just made a few for Escape Artist Lovers – and I’m working on a VHS movie staring Parker.
Directed by Shane & released in August 2023.
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – When & where would that be?
… and why would you choose that time & place?
Maybe around the turn of the century to see all the great magicians perform, learn magic and have a sideshow act – or the NYC downtown art scene in the 70s.
What does God mean to you?
In a fight between the following American pop culture icons: Hulk Hogan (wrestler) Vs Ronald McDonald (fast food mascot) – Who would win?
…and why would they be victorious?
“Over 99 Billion Served”
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I had a stalker nightmare… hardly remember.
Does sex change everything?
Don’t get a sex change.
Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?
I’m not done doing what I’d like to be remembered for – but for now I just hope some of my photos stand the test of time.
- Shane McKenzie – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shane McKenzie – Instagram
- Shane McKenzie – Vimeo
- Shane McKenzie – Bandcamp
- Shane McKenzie – Discogs Entry
All images supplied by Shane or sourced online.