BTS: w/ Artist Keshida Layone

Who: Keshida Layone
Title: Abstract Painter
Age: 30 something
Hometown: Long Island, New York

As a kid he would have thought by now you could call him a space cadet. Now its a different space that this visual artist and abstract painter dwells in. He creatively surrounds himself with natures elements and allows life to guide from visual masterpiece to masterpiece. I went Behind-The-Seams with Abstract painter Keshida Layone, whom I haven't chatted with or seen in years. But thanks to social networks like LinkedIn, we got it in!

The first time I met Keshida was about 6 years ago. At that time he was going by the name of Brown Rice, was styling in DC and NY, and was sporting gorgeous medium length locks. I'd received a call from my room mate telling me to hurry to the house to see the new couch they'd found for our living room. It was suede electric cobalt blue, left by the side of the road. Hey, one man's trash is another man's treasure! I walked in and standing next to my electric blue couch, was this brown skinned brotha with an electric personality. Keshida has was full of life, had great creative energy, and lot of great jokes.

Even years later, a few more states lived in, a wife, and a now one year old daughter he still has that same vibrant personality.

Totally Obsessed xoxo Love

Where did you go to school? What did you study? 
New York Institute of Technology NYIT.  Inter-discplimanry Studies, Liberal Arts

How did you begin painting? 
I actually started at a young age but professionally about 9 years ago as a hobby on the weekends. I used the old canvas in my closet, I would doodle and sketch. I love color and of course my fashion background played a big influence. i was a freelance stylist and art director in DC and New York. Then one weekend in DC I literally started going in. I started getting more canvasses and and supplies and taking it to the next level.

What was your childhood dream?
I wanted to be an astronaut.

Being self taught how has your work evolved? 
Its constantly evolving, while testing myself with color, shapes, new strokes techniques, palettes and the whole design part of it. I take basic training + research + nature and experiment. i like taking natural elements an using them as materials to create new textures, and strokes. It went from “Can I do this?" To, "I love what I’m doing.”

What other forms of art do you dabble in? 
Poetry, short stories, singing, dancing, and a little illustration.

Do you have a particular process/ formula routine while painting?
Late at night, due to my family life. After midnight is my maximum creative peak. I'll throw on some underground Afro beat, Brazilian or world music. Lighting is essential, I'll use overhead lights and extra lamps because I paint on the floor, or on an art table in my garage.

What are your favorite tools to work with? 
Painting on wood surfaces, spray paint because of the speed and hyper color, water colors, creating my own palette of colors in a bucket, towels, and newspapers to get a different type of stroke on the canvas.

What’s now? 
I just finished a piece called Wind and Sea (pictured above). Its the conflict of a peaceful sea and a heavy wind. With leaves, smoke, fog, chaos and confusion it is more about the wind than the sea.

What’s next? A few more to interact with that piece.

Looking at your body of work your paintings have lots of movement and rhythm. What message do you think comes across the most even from the various collections?
I think it has something to do with me being left handed. Also because of my energy, and my personality, even some of the serene pieces my personality is projected. I think there is something in each piece that I'm putting in to make the eye travel an move to the next detail.

How do you think growing up in Long Island, or New York in general influenced you as a painter or just creatively? 
I think a lot of the influence is the heavy idea "to be more and do better". That freedom came from the moving to the city, and that feeling of I cant wait to move to the city. The people you meet on the streets randomly to personal relationships, I think a lot of my work was emotional based on those loving relationships. That feeling of wanting to share the idea of holding on to emotions, whether its love or even being scared to trust.

What advice do you have for emerging artists?
Be you. risk it all. That’s the fear of putting yourself out their. Don’t be afraid to not know something.
I started late because I didn’t know that painting was going to be what I want to leave behind with my legacy. When I’m left with nothing, no clothes, no money, no gym membership. I’d love to be able to leave this behind at a library, or an airport, a foryere in a restaurant to give a new outlook in any environment. It seems like its just visual but visuals can go really far!

Check pics of the artists works here: