Rachel MacCratic was raised in a Seventh-Day Adventist family in San Bernardino, California and Keene, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside. She painted vases and platters at Douglas Keith's studio and designed the posters and print media for the Student Coalition for Peace and Human Rights. She showed abstract mixed media paintings at the Sweeney Art Gallery and displayed conceptual paintings using women's clothing in downtown Riverside's erstwhile community art spaces. She also created print media and internal communication materials for Kaiser Permanente's Call Center at Bostonia following the marketing group's style guide. During her time at Kaiser Permanente, she designed her costumes and makeup while performing roles in street theatrics and then a three act play, The Circus of [Im]migration, with C.I.R.C.A's Border Patrol on San Diego's streets, the University of California, Berkeley, Station 40 in San Francisco, and the Bike Church in Santa Cruz, California.
While working with C.I.R.C.A.'s Border Patrol, MacCratic and her compatriots were in the activist avant-garde of the culture wars, using visual arts and opening spaces to question dominant discourses of gender, freedom of movement, hierarchy, the nation-state, and the boundaries of forums, of community organizing, art, media, and interpersonal relationships. MacCratic first presented her particular collection of identity performance tools and interests in illustrative paintings and drawings of narratives cast with feminine protaganists, as exemplified by the work Oaxaca Resiste. The recent work crafted rituals and beauty spectacles to add complexity to the dominant beauty standard and balance a safe space with diverse participants' interests through an approximately annual queer fashion show.
She received commissions and donated work auctioned for charity beginning in 2005. She is a resident artist holding daily studio hours as a community member of Hillcrest in San Diego, California.
Rachel MacCratic is eldest sister to Michael, Esther, and Jonathan MacCratic. Commentators often point out the inconstance of Rachel MacCratic's own, often theatrically feminine, performances of identity.