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Back Talk with Josh Keyes

Juxtapoz // Monday, 10 Aug 2009



How do you feel right now?




If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?


The location would be the Grand Canyon, standing at the edge, I would yell at morning noon and night.

If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?


I would work in the sales department at Dunder Mifflin, the Scranton branch.


If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?


Banksy, but I would be dressed as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when I deliver the blow.

Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?


Definitely, and the song already exists, Wild Signs, from the Close Encounters of the Third Kind soundtrack.


At what point were you particularly happy?


When I moved back to the west coast after grad school. I like the energy and space out here.


No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


I regret that I did not have a chance to say goodbye to my friend and fellow artist Brad Silverstein before he passed away.

What trait do your friends have in common?


They are typically night owls who love strawberries, and can sense when a storm is coming.


If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?


My cat and his shadow.


Greatest love of your life?



What is your favorite vice?


Fresh Coffee


When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?


Fewer candles


If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?


Charlie Chaplin from Modern Times or a shape shifter from either True Blood or the Twilight series.

Do you ever lie?


Mostly when I am asleep, I am usually unconscious when I lie.


Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


Most of the time, yes, with the exception of the paintings that contain more personal imagery or an exaggeration of form. I think it is important for the viewer to approach these pieces with an open mind and imagination to produce their own personal interpretation of the work.

What virtue can you do without?




Do you even notice when you're swearing?


What the hell kind of !#$@!* question is that!?


What has been your proudest moment?


It gave me great pride to see the students I had at the Oakland School for the Arts find and develop their own voice and imagery.

What would you like to be remembered for?


I would like to be remembered as an artist who helped to expand what seems to be a growing movement of artists who fuse personal mythology with the concerns and issues of the world. But most likely, I will be remembered as an eccentric who had an obsession with collecting plastic cubes, and toy animals.


How would you prefer to die?


Napping on the grass in the sunshine.


For more on Josh Keyes, visit his website here...