My name is KEEF CROSS, and I am a father/tattoo artist/painter/graphic novelist. Tattooing pays the bills, but my true passion is painting. While i did attend art college, I feel that my art benefited more from life experience. music, and film. I don’t make decidedly “black art”, it just so happens that the subjects of my pieces are black people, just not in the same cultural backdrops that the rest of the world is used to seeing us in. My pieces rarely have a meaning or purpose, until they are completed, and even then, i’d rather not disclose my personal intentions for them, but rather have the viewer tell me what they see, and in my opinion, whatever they take from it, is what it was always meant to be.
1) What is your ethnicity?
2) What is your mediums(s) of choice?
My favorite medium of choice is pen and ink.
3) What scale/ dimensions do you usually work in?
4) How old were you when you began creating?
I was around 15 when i first started drawing seriously.
5) What were some of your earliest inspirations?
As a kid, my earliest influence was from X-men comics. Artists like Jim Lee, Mark Silvestri , Todd McFarlane, got my pencil moving. Dawud Anyabwile and Brotherman Comics were a big deal too. But when I got a little older, I was heavily influenced by underground 70s comic artists like Ralph Bakshi, Robert Crumb,Wendi Pini and Vaugn Bode’
6) Who are some of your favorite visual artists?
there are a lot, but the ones that stick out are Mike Mignola, James Jean, Jamie Hewlett to name a few
7) What are some of the consistent themes in your work and please describe them?
I think all of my work is consistently Afrocentric, especially when others describe it. The beauty of black women is a constant theme. Usually I’m never going for a particular theme, most paintings start as something that is just aesthetically pleasing, and then a meaning usually emerges.
8) Name 3 of your biggest accomplishment in your artistic career?
When was 18 I designed the Banner 1996 Olympic Games for Fulton County.
I’m a published author of DAY BLACK which was then turn into a short film that is currently making the rounds in several film festivals, currently playing in the Bronze Lens Film festival
9) What purpose does your art serve for the viewer?
not sure, I think it serves more of a purpose for me to create, than what people get from it. And if they like it, thats great too.
10) Do you think it is important for (a) the viewer to have a subjective experience with your work or (b) to know and take the artist’s point of view into account to appreciate your work?
I think both can be important, because a lot of times people see things in my work that I never intended, which gives new meaning for the piece to me. Other times ,when viewers hear my intention for the piece, they tend to appreciate it more. But i really feel that whatever a person sees in my work, is what it was always intended to be.
(A) would you consider yourself a relativist when it comes to art appreciation?
(B) is there any art you don’t like?
sure, but I have an appreciation of all art for what it is. certain types may not be my cup of tea, but it still has a right to exist.
11) please expand on your voice as an artist and explain why it is necessary to share?
i’m still trying to find my voice, and i dont necessarily believe that it’s necessary don’t necessarily believe that its important for an artist to share, I know some amazing artists that don’t get on social media or do shows or anything, they create simply for themselves. It does seem a little selfish but if that’s how someone copes in life, who’s to say they owe the world anything?
12) Would you consider yourself a socially conscious artist or art activist? Explain.
I do consider myself to be a socially conscious artist, more so in my comic than in my paintings, but since all of my work is focused exclusively on my people, I think that’s socially conscious in itself. Especially when you have black comic book artists who draw characters who are mostly white or non black, I hate that and I wont be apart of it, especially when we live in a world where everything is set up to show us how unimportant and unbeautiful we are. As far as my book goes, I always try to inject some social commentary in there somewhere.
13) Please name 3 tangible goals you seek to accomplish in your artistic career
(A) For me and my family live comfortably off of my art.
(B) To see my book ‘DayBlack” become a feature film or a tv series.
(C) To be looked at as a major influence on future generations of artists
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