Josh Keys Illustration

“Josh Keyes’ style is reminiscent of the diagrammatic vocabulary found in scientific textbook illustrations that often express through a detached and clinical viewpoint an empirical representation of the natural world. Assembled into this virtual stage set are references to contemporary events along with images and themes from his personal mythology. Josh Keyes’ work is a hybrid of eco-surrealism and dystopian folktales that express a concern for our time and the Earth’s future.”

Josh Keyes was born in Tacoma, Washington. In 1992 he received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in 1998 from Yale University. Keyes currently lives and works in Portland Oregon.

“Animals hold a special place in our collective psyche, and conception of the natural world. From all areas of the world, animals have been used and depicted in creation stories and myths, folk tales, and nursery rhythms. There is a universal connection that most people have with animals, there is an innocence, and when animal imagery is used in certain ways, stirs a sleeping instinctive nature within.”

“There are also times when the animals stand for something other than what they are, they stand as a metaphor for transformation, death, rebirth, or as a purely poetic expression.”

“On average a painting can take anywhere from three weeks to three months depending on the level of changes and detail. I start with a very rough sketch and take it on a journey. I change the perspective, the animals, the orientation, I also jot down ideas and possible titles.”

“Hearing other people’s interpretation is one of the highlights of painting these images, they always amaze me, and often give me new ideas for paintings.”

You can find more paintings and a very interesting Studio Blog on his homepage


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