I am Unity: Kirby Reiko McKenzie

Artist Kirby Reiko McKenzie faces away from the camera, looking over her left shoulder, dark hair pulled back in a low bun. Kirby wears a black jacket with a print on the back that depicts a basketball flying through the air and the words "Kirby's Dream Land -- RAGE"

Unity at the Initiative: a multi-site visual exhibition and at-home experience centering art by and for Queer and Trans Artists of Color. I am:_____ is a blog series to get to know our partners.

Kirby Reiko McKenzie grew up skating the streets of Philadelphia back in the 90’s, quit for a good long time, and resumed 7 years ago while living in Oakland, California. Excited by the quickly expanding women and queer skate community, she spent as much time as possible enmeshed in it--taking skate road trips and frequenting Bay area spots with friends. She helped organize skate meetups with Skate Like A Girl, SF and documented what she could of the west coast’s women and queer skate community through 35mm film--her website skatecrush.com is an archive of those times. She moved back to Philadelphia in 2017 and currently teaches fine woodworking at NextFab, a local maker space, and spends her weekends learning auto mechanics and making furniture and clothes for friends.

"I have an art degree but I just make things out of wood and fabric for myself and friends. I used to spend a lot of time capturing women and queer skaters on 35mm, but now I have a day job---I teach fine woodworking and occasionally take furniture commissions."


Finish this sentence with a word or two: I am a:_______

Adult, maybe?

What's the most half-baked hobby you took on since the COVID-19 shutdown?

Popping the pimples I get from wearing a mask

What are you binge-watching?

A poster advertising the Great British Baking Show, featuring a white cake embellished with the title of the show written on top in blue icing.

Great British Baking Show

What's the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Last week I was working on my car and I accidentally squatted over a can of brake cleaner and it shot up my butt.

If you were to create a signature skate move, what would the move involve/look like?

Kickflips under my desk while my hand twirls a pencil

Anything you'd like to share with the world?