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Meet Shannon Keller of Shannon Keller Art

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

Shannon, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started really making art in middle school. Before that, I was always interested in making things but very self-conscious, and when we had art class in elementary school, I always felt completely inadequate. I took my first figure classes when I was 16 at The Corcoran School of Art, I was hooked on art school from then on.

I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and received my BFA in Drawing. I was lumped in with the painting department and struggled. Even in art circles, drawings are at times looked at as ‘sketches’ for a painting – I have become a real torchbearer for DRAWING as a legitimate and crucial art form.

I found the MFA program at The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) I couldn’t stomach being in the painting dept. so I went into New Genres and really pushed myself in new directions. The education I got there really formed my ways of thinking and inspired me, and I was seduced by conceptual art.

Alas, after my master’s program I fell back into drawing and have never left it. My husband and I move to LA in December of 1999 and I went on the long and winding road to where I am now; an art teacher and maker.

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?
I feel that it is always a challenge of being an artist. Creating a path and being able to edit self-doubt and others criticism and the current trends while staying the course and remaining true to the work. It requires a thick skin, a touch of crazy and some solid support systems in place; I am lucky to have some great people in my corner.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am an artist who makes drawings. I work with pencil on paper as it is the most immediate and primitive art practices. I also teach art (grades 3-8) at a private school in La Canada. I recently made drawings for a film that my brother wrote and his partner directed; the main character is an artist, and his art is integral to the plot. It was a great experience.

I had a limited production time budget, so it was rough getting a piece to a point of completion and moving on the next piece… sometimes you have to call it done and move, or you could just mess with it forever. I also find great pride in working with kids, sharing my passion for art. Specifically MY kids; I have 2 daughters (14 & 10-year-old) that offer both grounding and unbridled inspiration.

My older daughter is an incredible visual artist, multi-instrumental musician, zinester and creative thinker. We have intense conversations, and we really get each other. My younger daughter is bold and athletic and has a great dark humor, when I was pregnant with her I had the greatest creative surge, so we have that as an internal connection. They are my muses.

I also have a deep and longtime fascination with anatomy. My work largely focuses on the inner and the outer body, or more succinctly our stuffing and its casing. I use personal iconography to reinterpret the ‘anatomy’ of my characters filling them with parts botanical, animal and mechanical.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have had several ‘moments’ and many influences but the first time I felt art in my gut and owned it was reading an article about Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster Series from an Art and America magazine I bought when I was sitting in my dad’s office during a bad snowstorm waiting for a ride home.

I was 13 and remember reading it and just GETTING it and knowing that I had found something to believe in. It was the moment if there was one.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Christopher Dehm

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