Studio visit with Jayson Keeling
NATALIE KATES: Where are you from and are you formally trained as an artist?
JAYSON KEELING: I was born in Brooklyn, NY. Yes, I am formally trained and I have been trying to unlearn everything I learned.
NK: How is your ethnicity reflected in your artwork?
JK: The intensity of my work is a reflection of my ethnicity.
NK: Your works consist of photography, sculpture, video and mixed media. Is there a common thread between these different mediums?
JK: The common thread is light. I consider it my primary art making tool.
NK: You started your early creative career as a fashion photographer. How is the fashion world different from the art world?
JK: In recent years they have become practically indistinguishable.
NK: If you could trade one of your glitter pieces with another living artist who would that be and why?
JK: I would trade anything for a Whitfield Lovell charcoal on wood drawing (preferably a soldier). I would also love a print from Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), a Matthew Day Jackson portrait of Harriet Tubman or a ceramic work by Sterling Ruby.
NK: A lot of your art references music, which are some of your favorite musicians?
JK: Prince, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Karlheinz Stockhausen Parliament Funkadelic, Erik Satie, Alice Coltrane, Horace Andy, Early Bowie, Mahalia Jackson, Lee Scratch Perry, Betty Davis, Charles Mingus, Tricky, Yoko Ono, Sun Ra, Grace Jones, The Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, Malcolm McLaren, Public Enemy, M.I.A. Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash
NK: What words that best describe your work?
JK: Ticklish and Brut.