BJ Keith Fine Art

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"I've always had an insatiable artistic visual appetite.  It compels me to study the striations in rock formations or to create a contemporary, bold interpretation of the life cycle of biological organisms.  It's about learning how to see," Keith says.  "I think we artists see the world in a way that's different from everyone else.  Everything I observe gives me inspiration for my art."


When asked about her process, BJ explains, "When I do a new design, I first sketch my idea on paper, and sometimes I use wire or stiff cardboard to make a mockup. Then I decide on the type of metal would convey the design's purpose the best. The I start assembling it in the garage.  I know that  most metal scuptors hand off their drawn design to others to do the engineering and welding but I like to do all of that myself."  She holds up her hands to me, "And your mother has the ugly hands and scarred arms to prove it"  One might ask why a beautiful woman would do so, but BJ is an artist through and through.  "When I'm working on a piece, my favorite part is that element of surprise, you know?  I'll think to myself, 'You know what? I actually think it would look better this way instead.'  I'd hate to miss out on that surprise and understanding of a piece if I let someone else construct it for me."  History has many examples of famous artists who allowed the art to speak to them and surprise them in the hands on making—Michaelangelo, for one, who was convinced that the block of marble always revealed the art it wanted to create.

 

Where did BJ learn to weld?  Well, initially from watching her father with her old welding mask, but later, when she was in college.  "When I was studying for my MFA, I realised that the metal sculture teacher didn't know anything more than soldering. I could have learned that from my father and husband. So instead, I went to the industrial arts department and took a class in welding.  The teacher and I had a ball.  Rarely did he get an artist in the class, for he mostly saw tradesmen, so we would try all sorts of things to see how metal would respond.  We had fun experimenting!  He didn't make me do the regular assignments but let me create my own.  I was very lucky.  Then I used my husband's welder at home and eventually inherited all of my father's tools, including his welder."

 

Link to Style Craft Video of BJ working:   https://youtu.be/x33XG1cWsfY


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