McKay started out as a mime artist and never lost his flair for the theatrical. He took a fundamental art course in his youth but found it too academic and boring. Instead, he taught himself to draw by studying the old masters.
The brilliance of McKay’s work can be seen in the Tower of Babel project. Although McKay developed macular degeneration, which left him legally blind, he hand-drew these works – with a large magnifying glass – until his death in 2014. McKay described his fantastical, imaginary drawing project “Axonometropolis”: a city of the imagination; infinite in structures, roads, canals and bridges as if in a daydream.
McKay worked on the Babel Project for twenty years. Axonometropolis is a term he invented to describe a city which can only exist as an axonometric drawing, which describes mass, volume and spatial relationship without perspective. Therefore, there are no vanishing points or horizon. The buildings, pathways, lakes and gardens are visible in their actual scale, in all directions, to infinity. Because he was nearly blind, he could only create one small area at a time, using a magnifier. The drawings started in 2008 were improvised directly, in ink, freehand without a plan.
McKay’s drawings were included in a book, Visionary Architecture: Unbuilt Works of the Imagination, which featured the famous 18th Century architect, Giovanni Piranese. In 1992, he received the award of excellence in international competition from the American Society of Architectural Perspectivists. He was also a member of the Blind Artists Society. His work was exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair in NYC in 2008.