Shannon May Mackenzie was born in Asheville, North Carolina. She began studying visual arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the High School Program. In the summer of 2012, Mackenzie was awarded a Kenan Fellowship to study at Penland School of Crafts. Shortly after, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Shannon graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and was honored with the Allie Pratt Award. A year later, Shannon made her directorial debut with a short documentary call "Rotatio," which traveled around the country in film festivals such as Slamdance Film Festival, AFI Documentary Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, and the 54th New York Film Festival. Following this success, she moved to live and work at Arcosanti in Arizona, an urban laboratory exploring ideas of architectural arcology, sustainability, and community from 2016 to 2018. She currently is based out of Richmond, Virginia.