CRESTONE — Nick Keefer’s work will be on display at the Shumei Gallery in Crestone in July. A symposium with Nick will be held on Sunday, July 15th starting at 3 p.m. A reception will follow.
Nick Keefer was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1968. He has lived in Utah, Northern California, Mexico, Costa Rica and Colorado. He has created art in all those places, leaving a trail of art in his wake. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and now lives in once again in Crestone. Nick has always been a prolific artist, and has created many distinct bodies of work in his lifetime. He has shown in a variety of venues and several countries. In the past ten years he has refined his technique while continuing to dig deeper into the concepts that drive his art.
The artist has in his life worked in many mediums including: pen and ink rendering, water color, print making, jewelry making, oil paint on canvas, digital art and video collage, stone carving, photography and wood carving. He now works primarily with acrylic paint and mixed media on wood panel. Nick is mostly a self-?taught artist, though he studied art at San Francisco Community College and Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. To him the school of life is where the true artist should learn his trade and take in the insight that makes for art that has the ability to make one ponder the meaning of life.
“My current painting style is an amalgamation of paint, paper, collage, image transfer and varnish on wood,” Nick said. “Central to every painting is a fascination with transforming the piles of paper that we humans leave in our wake, into something of significance. I find inspiration everywhere: in ads, old magazines, books on science, geology, anatomy, biology -? I devour images. It all gets repurposed, stained, torn, pasted, varnished, sanded, painted over, hidden and revealed. Sometimes a magical transposition happens, creating, intentionally or by coincidence, some fresh meaning or symbolism, out of the old and possibly banal. From piles of babble comes precious jewels.”
He added, “My art has always been fueled by a need to investigate my interior workings and the conflicts that exist there. Explorations of love and lust, fear and ambition, the mystery of existence and my relationship with the world around me, underpin all of my pieces. Often a series will begin with my grappling with some sense of angst about a particular subject or feeling, and then develop into something I had not originally intended.
“The creation of my paintings is both an additive and subtractive process. I build up layers of paint and imagery and then begin to sand and remove areas I don’t care for, while enhancing and bringing out the areas that work. Many layers of paint, varnish and paper can be built up over time. It is a very labor-intensive process. Much of the time, a painting does not come together until I have wiped out many hours or days of work, paring the piece down and allowing its essence to emerge.
“Recently, I had a time of deep reflection on my life as an artist. I was feeling frustrated with my work, like I had said everything I wanted to say and my ideas had run dry. I was painting less and enjoying the process less. In a sense, I kind of threw in the towel. If I was not going to create new and meaningful work then what was the point? A couple of winters ago something shifted. Perhaps in the act of capitulation, something in me shifted or loosened. I felt inspired to create, and even inspired to put some work out into the world for people to see again, an idea that has always caused me some trepidation. While previously, my approach to art started with a image, or an idea I wanted to put on the canvas, I was finding myself working from a more intuitive place. For me to stay in this space, and work with a balance of control and flow, is challenging, but immensely rewarding. To me life revolves around the creation of art, I create to exist.”
Come meet Nick and learn more about his art on Sunday July 15th from 3-5 p.m. This event is free to the public. Please visit www.shumeicrestone.org or call 256-5284 for more information. The Shumei gallery is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Caption: Pictured is artist Nick Keefer’s “Trinity.” Nick is Shumei’s featured artist for July at Shumei in Crestone./Courtesy photo