We had the good fortune of connecting with Mayce Keeler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mayce, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
While making artwork, pieces call out to me until they, sometimes suddenly, fall silent. I know whether to “give up” or keep going depending on when the work stops talking – and therefore, stops teaching me. There are times when the piece is not going as planned and the thought of abandoning it for a shiny, blank canvas weasels its way into my mind, and of course it would be easy to give in! In some instances, this is the correct impulse and I have nothing left to learn from a piece, while in others, the lesson comes from sticking with an idea and working it out even when it is starting to look funky and off. Every piece I learn from is a rung in a ladder to where I want to go, and when I wring out all that a piece of artwork can teach me, whether the piece ends up finished or not, I take another step.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Wrestling with accepting pleasure and weighing it with the threat of eternal damnation, I focus on old allegories of Christian religion and interweave them with stereotypes of masculinity. In addition my art contains references to medieval manuscripts, as well as a growing set of original symbols and my own created mythos all utilized to build an intimate language in which I attempt to navigate the cognitive dissonance between bodily pleasure and orthodox religion. From there once more the conflict as old as dust is rehashed: what does the biblical God want me to do vs what I myself want to do. I am always excited about the next ideas to come to me, even if I am unaware of what they will be. Will they be larger? Perhaps smaller? What animal figurehead will I ponder next? Will this creature incite revulsion or compassion? What is unknown can be anything, and to me that idea contains a restlessness excitement. I find that working towards where I see myself being is not easy- yet endlessly rewarding. As an emerging artist in San Diego, finding a stride in what you enjoy all the while challenging yourself is what I believe to be key to furthering one’s career. Working large thrills me – so I do it. Certain motifs and reoccurring symbols often find their way from my pen to my paper – so I embrace it. One of the most important lessons that I have learned in the recent months is that the art you will be good at is also what is the most interesting to oneself. Learning how to take your own art seriously all the while making what feels genuine is a lesson I still have to repeatedly remind myself of.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For me, whenever I have a good day off and feel the need to putz around town for a little while, I sure do love going to Lake Murray and taking in the soft sounds of the ducks. There is a magical quality when I really sit down and ponder over a round aquatic bird that really lowers the blood pressure. Another rhythmic and hypnotic place on my list of favorites to visit would be the beach. Growing up in the north county of San Diego the shores of Torrey Pines or Del Mar invoke the most relaxing, perhaps nostalgic, reaction to me personally. To sit in the warm sun on the sand or squint through the wind on a colder day, it is all lovely to me. One of my most frequented shopping establishment is a vintage and consignment store called Consignment Classics, and perhaps on a weekend morning you could find me moseying around at the Kobey’s swap meet. I love the treasure hunt atmosphere of these places as well as snagging a great deal. Grab a bite to eat at Mona Lisa’s deli in Little Italy or swing by for some Epic Wings n Things and I call that a perfect itinerary.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my friends, namely Zach Telles, Bryan Reid, and Avia Rose, all who have helped me grow and held gentle and constructive critique from the genesis of my thoughts until they are hanging framed on a white wall. The camaraderie of artists bolsters the moral and pushes us all onward.
Instagram: @keelercat @supermundanebodies