Born 1962, Ian is a writer, art critic, and cultural historian. For over 25 years, he worked as a senior lecturer in art history and cultural studies, and has been writing on the arts, crafts, and culture industries since the mid-1980s. His work has appeared in over thirty countries worldwide, being published by Cassell Illustrated, Wiley, Octopus, Free Association Books, Flowers, and State Media (among others). In addition he has written on environmental issues and social history, and is a leading authority on the work of the British modern artist Bernard Cohen. As Prof. Paul Coldwell has written of Ian’s most recent book on Bernard Cohen, About Now, "If one required an exemplar of insightful writing about an artist and their art, this should be in the frame. Ian McKay interrogates the work, peeling away layers and offering glimpses of references, both broadly literary and deeply personal, in language as elegant as the art he excavates."

Ian was previously Editor-at-Large for both STATE and F22 magazines (for which he also served as Editor-at-Large, Vienna). He was also the Founder-Editor of The Journal of Psychogeography & Urban Research, as well as Special Correspondent (Eastern Europe) for Photoicon magazine and Deputy Editor for Contemporary Art magazine. He has worked as a freelance language consultant for Cambridge University Press in Warsaw and has travelled widely throughout Europe as a writer since the mid-1980s when he began writing on the arts of Eastern Europe from the ‘Eastern Bloc’ states, prior to the collapse of communism. As Carrie Dedon, Curator of Contemporary Art at Seattle Art Museum has commented, Ian McKay was "the first British art critic to emphasise the negative impact of the western art market following the breakdown of communism post-1989." He subsequently reported from the Balkans and maintains an interest in the arts and culture of remote or transient communities, as well as places of conflict.

Since the mid-1980s, he has been a regular contributor to a wide range of magazines, journals, and periodicals, including: Alba; The Antique Collector; Apollo; Art Book News; Art & Design; Art Issues Magazine; Art Monthly; The Artist; Artist's and Illustrator's Magazine; Artline International; Art Review; Artscribe; Artworks; Association of Illustrator’s Journal; Computer Weekly; Contemporary Art; Crafts; Creative Camera; Country Standard; Earthlines; The Face; Galleries; The Geographical Magazine; The Independent on Sunday; International Publishing Review; The Leisure Painter; Modern Painters; National Trust Travel Review; The Northern Times; Photoicon; Practical Crafts; Private Eye; The Press & Journal; RA (Royal Academy) Magazine; State of Art; Sight & Sound; Time Out (London); What Restaurant & Theatre; What's On In London; The Whistler (the house publication of The Chelsea Arts Club); and XYZ Design & Technology.

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