With distinctively sharp edges and material sourced from comic books and fashion magazines, San Jose native Jordan McKenzie creates and shares his eye-catching collage under the Instagram moniker, alldaydirt. At 27 and cutting collage for about six months now, McKenzie, though relatively new to the craft, seems to have found his artistic niche. Having previously worked in music and photography, McKenzie has had a lifelong interest in creative work. However, with collaging, he really feels that he has discovered his true medium.
For him, it’s all about the process of collaging. Cutting the many pieces and constructing the images is what really makes him happy. The process of collaging is an act of meditation—while he cuts and then constructs his works, his mind quiets and he fully focuses on his work. He touches on the importance of this: “When you find something that gives you such mental peace and clarity, it’s worth doing. It’s just cool that other people dig it, too, that, fortunately, the thing that gives me clarity can be shared with others. There’s an end product to show.”
McKenzie finds his material in magazines, things he’s been given, and everyday papers found while out and about—he is always looking for content for his next collage. He is particularly drawn to sharp edges, high fashion, images of smoke and guns, and matching postures. However, though partial to these things, McKenzie doesn’t really go into a collage with a set plan. “I tend to work with high fashion magazines, because I really like the outfits,” he shares. “Oftentimes, I’ll cut the model’s heads off and use, like, a comic book character instead,” he laughs. He also likes using the female form. “The idea of a woman, to me, is a strong thing. So I try to make and convey strong female figures. I don’t really go into these thinking what the subject is going to be. I kind of just start cutting, and things just come together.”
Though it really is about the artistic process for him, McKenzie is still very conscious of how people interpret the art that he makes. “Aside from just enjoying cutting collage, I’m also really interested in how people receive the things that I make. Because I can make something on a fluke or make something that I specifically like, and someone can interpret it in some wild way and give it a whole other meaning that I didn’t necessarily intend. It’s cool,” he muses. For McKenzie, the idea of leaving behind something tangible is very important. With collaging, he feels that he will.
“It’s just cool that other people dig it, too, that, fortunately, the thing that gives me clarity can be shared with others. There’s an end product.”
This newfound passion has also opened doors, particularly in terms of meeting other creatives and allowing him to network and learn while maintaining his own unique creative process. “Meeting like-minded people is always a fun thing. I’m still relatively new to this, and I want to learn as much as I can. I’m just trying to stay really open,” he says. Moving forward, McKenzie is considering collaborative work as well as having his very own show sometime in the near future. “I’d love to do a show at some point. I’m not a classically trained artist, I don’t know the color wheel or anything like that, but I like what I like, and this is something that makes me happy,” he adds.
When it comes down to it, happiness and putting himself out there is what really drives McKenzie and his work. “Right now in my life I’ve been very big on happiness. Whatever makes you happy and gives you that moment of clarity, hold on to that. Because it’s not gonna get any easier. So you just have to do what makes you happy.”
This article originally appeared in Issue 11.2 “Device”