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Meet Keri Rosebraugh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keri Rosebraugh.

Keri, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My artwork has taken many twists and turns. I was classically trained as an illustrator here in LA. At that time, it was the late 80’s and most of the successful editorial illustrators were men, and most of the work was on the east coast. I used to study well-known illustrators’ artwork to see if one could tell if a man or a woman created it, then try to strategically create my artwork to make sure it wasn’t obvious it was done by a female. Pre computers and pre-internet drove me to migrate to New York City. I have distinct memories of making cold calls to newspapers and magazines in the middle of snowstorms on dirty outside payphones. Often there were loud sirens whizzing by and cars splashing slush on my legs from the sidewalk gutters, which I’m sure impressed the people on the receiving side of the line (not).

After months of tenacity, I finally could walk to various newspaper stands and find my artwork in publications. On a shelf near the front, I could browse through the New York Times Book Review and spot an illustration I did that same week, while if I searched the back rack in the corner, I could flip through a cheesy porn rag and uncover another drawing by yours truly. Anything to pay the bills.

Eventually, newspapers took to buying stock illustrations and budgets declined. The market got tougher so I needed to adapt. Returning to California, I jumped into the entertainment market freelancing for Disney, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, and regularly created courtroom sketches for the tv show “America’s Most Wanted.” I was happy for the opportunity and the income, but eventually I felt like I was literally just a wrist with no voice attached. It was then that I quit illustration. It was a 25 years run.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For the last five years, I have concentrated on my own personal work: sculptures, installations, videos and paintings. The catalyst for me to create comes from strong emotional responses to my surroundings. A feeling of awe while in the middle of nature, sadness and loss from a death of a close one, happiness when I’m in love, or anxiousness during a pandemic — these all have powerful energies that affect me and creating artwork is how I respond to such intense emotions.

In 2015, I was originally scheduled to attend an exhibition in Paris in conjunction with the COP21 summit on climate change which included two of my artworks. The opening was abruptly canceled due to the terror attacks days prior. This spurred a collaboration with French artist Philippe Nodluaner to create a large scale art installation in support of the people of Paris on the banks of the River Seine. A giant ankh symbol out of 200 baguettes was laid out symbolizing everlasting life and implying strength and power.

In 2017, I became obsessed with studying water and our relationship to this vital resource. Living in Los Angeles it is not advised to drink the water. I have a problem with this. Growing up in Oregon, we happily drank from the tap. This sparked a series of artwork once again reacting to my surroundings. Taking Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto’s theory that water retains memory, this ongoing body incites a dialogue discussing the possibilities of how our thoughts and actions directly affect water.

One of the most recent examples of reacting to my environment is the coronavirus. I live alone in my art studio in downtown LA across from my neighbor and fellow artist, Adam Guy. After self-isolating for months, we both shared our frustrations of our current challenges by creating an installation and video next to the LA River titled “virUS.” Lining up clay roof tiles like dominoes, we spelled out the word “VIRUS” in 12 ft. letters then proceeded to crush the first three letters of the word with a sledgehammer and pickaxe – leaving the remaining part of the word as “US.” The goal of this piece is to express humanity’s strength and resilience to the global pandemic, but not without the truth that accompanies it: fear, anxiety, grief and more.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I think the soul of my business is to somehow create change. If by creating a piece of art, I can make a viewer think differently about something – see something in a new way, spark a new thought or idea even for a minute or two then I am happy. For me, the secret to inspiration is learning. Nature and travel are what opens a portal to new ideas and concepts that intrigue me. I often work with natural found objects, so anywhere in nature that is quiet leads me to focus and take in all the resources I have at my doorstep.

I am currently collaborating with Rebecca Auman, an intuitive tarot card reader and shaman, to create a tarot deck highlighting human’s relationship with nature and how we navigate a harmonious life within our natural environment. She is wonderful to work with because she believes in giving artists a voice. The best way for communities to support artists is by letting artists express themselves — which in turn lets us support the communities. I believe most artists create artwork which reflects their surroundings, their inner thoughts, and the way they see the world. If communities are open to supporting the arts, they actually are bringing us more together by sharing and honoring diverse views about the one world that we all live in.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Adam Guy, Philippe Nodluaner, Ana Lía Orézzoli, Stuart Emmons

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