— I’m the guy that’s painted about three hundred thousand paintings that have been sold or given away. That’s kind of my day job, but a hobby that I have is making drawings on sheets of plywood. The drawings are made in the computer and engraved on the plywood by a CNC machine. I think as a painter and my skills are with a brush. I don’t know how to draw well but I want to turn lines into color and paint by their density.
My hero is Winslow Homer, the 19th century American artist. His day job was as illustrator for Harper’s Weekly during the Civil War.
My dad was the kind of guy that would spend his weekends with a metal detector. He would go to different sites to try to find Civil War artifacts. I would have to go with him sometimes on saturdays and I hated it.
Back then all I wanted to do was go to the library and look at art books. The intersection of what I loved and what my dad loved were these illustrations from the old newspapers.
These have become stronger to me in color, composition and content. I use these as my main tool for these drawing ideas that I have which I am building in three-D in the computer to be cut by a machine. I’m not there yet – but it feels like I’ve opened a window into another physical world that goes backwards and forwards in time.
Steve Keene was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. Keene has created album and video set art for groups including Pavement, Apples in Stereo, Molly’s Folly and The Silver Jews. His work has been shown at the Goldie Paley Gallery at the Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, 1997; Threadwaxing Space, New York, 1993-95, and Kunstraum Wien, Austria, 1995.