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Meet Lois Keller of Artist

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lois Keller.

Lois, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m an artist, stay at home mom and I was also a caregiver for my Mom with Alzheimer’s when I made my first portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. as a history project with my daughter. I loved how the art incorporated all parts of my life as a homemaker, caregiver and an artist. My other daughter was in a cinematic film academy and doing her own show on youtube at the time, so I was inspired by her to make something inspiring. I did Geena Davis, who started the Geena Davis Institute that documents how girls are portrayed in the media and started the “If she can see it, she can be it” campaign.

Alice Guy Blaché, known as the first female film director, which implies that there was a male filmmaker before her, but actually there wasn’t, she was known as the first person to put narration to film as a director. The portraits grew into a series I call “Feminist Bags.” They included Hilary Clinton, Meryl Streep because she fought to get pesticides out of apples when her kids were little and Emma Watson, who has grown up to use her voice at the UN and starting the He for She campaign demanding equal pay. Her portrait will be on view at the Laemmle cinema in Pasadena over the summer. The common bags gives the portraits of famous people a feeling of the familiar.

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?
It’s necessary to collect bags from different sources because of the variation of the prints. It’s how I get the light and shadows. Collecting the bags from different people also gives the portraits a greater meaning knowing that they have been used to nourish families, carry recyclables, or perhaps bring something over to a friend.

This was heartfully evident in the portrait of Heather Heyer, the young woman who died in Charlottesville by a white supremacist in a peaceful protest. I put out a call to friends who had heard about the tragedy and asked them to bring me their bags in solidarity.

Artist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m an artist and work in many mediums doing many projects. Besides grocery shopping and making art out of it. I love painting and have been doing so at our local elementary school and also all around LA with The Roofless Painters.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I was hired to create an art space for the recent Contenders Oscars for Deadline. That was really fun, as I had the challenge to make Gary Oldman look like Winston Churchill from the movie Darkest Hour only out of Trader Joe’s grocery bags.

That was a challenge! But, again I found what I needed out of those simple things. I even found 1940’s planes that helped set the tone for the portrait. Five portraits were commissioned and I got to meet Jessica Chastain, which was pretty cool.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Christine Colbert

    June 13, 2018 at 14:18

    What creative and inspiring art! Lois Keller is a true treasure!

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