During a super cold saturday morning at home i was searching for beautiful illustrations to use as an inspiration for some drawings and i found a couple of beautiful and colorful images in a blog. I immediately tried to find out the name of the author and that's how i stumbled onto keith Negly's work. I got immediately fascinated by the 50s 60s vibe of his illustrations and the simplicity of shapes and lines he uses. I decided to contact him to ask him a bunch of questions and here's the result of our conversation. I'm sure you'll be taken by his unbelievably catching works too.
1-How long have you been living in New York and why did you choose Brooklyn?
I moved to New York in august 2011 to attend the school of Visual Arts Illustration as Visual Essay MFA program. We couldn't afford to live in Manhattan and i just liked the idea of Brooklyn over New Jersey or Queens.
2-When and how did you start to be interested in Illustration?
I got interested in illustration my sophomore year of undergrad when we had to choose a major and i had a hard time deciding. The idea of picking a medium (painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture) and then sticking to that for 3 years sounded daunting. The illustration major appealed to me because it wasn't confined to using any one medium. From there i really got into the act of problem solving with images. I'm extremely competitive and loved everyone getting the same assignments and seeing how each of us solved it differently.
3-Is there any other creative field you feel attracted to?
I've always played music in some capacity since i was 15. I've played in quite a few bands and got the chance to tour a lot of the country playing shows. I've had to put it on the back burner while I focus on my MFA, but if i wasn't doing illustration I think I'd be playing in a struggling rock band and bar tending to pay the bills . I'd be broke but I'd be happy. The process of making music and the process of making images I find are extremely similar.
4-Is there anything that can help when you're searching for an idea for a work Some place where you like to go, some room in your house..?
I've got a few tricks. Bouncing ideas of my wife is usually my first step when i'm stuck on something. But also getting out of my office, away from my computer monitor. Just changing up my surroundings can help change up my thinking. Taking a shower, taking a nap, mainly taking my mind off the assignment if I can afford the time is helpful, so when i come back to it I can see it with a fresh perspective. I will either see a new angle I hadn't considered before, or see that the ideas I already came up with aren't as bad as i thought they were.
5-Any place you've visited in the world you'd love to see again and why?
When i was in my early 20's I spent a couple of weeks in Ireland on a whim with my girlfriend at the time. It was right after 9/11 and airfare was incredibly cheap. I was really taken with Dublin and the western shore. I would be disappointed if I never have the chance to go back. If I had my way I'd live there a few months out of the year. I was also fortunate enough to spend a couple weeks in Italy with my wife and you could spend months there and still not see everything.
6-Did growing up in Connecticut or living in Wisconsin help your aesthetics or the way you see your work?
My family moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin when I was one year old but I have to think living in Wisconsin until I was 23 must've had an effect on me. There are a lot of rolling hills and expansive farmland that can make for very isolating landscapes. It's very possible my penchant for minimalist composition derived from that in some way.
7-Are you a good cook? (if yes, what's your best recipe?)
I'm a terrible cook! Though my 4 year old son says i make the best scrambled eggs!
8-What do you love the most about Brooklyn?
If I have to pick one thing I'd have to say the energy. Maybe it's the diversity of people, or the density, but there is a buzz here that I've never experience in Milwaukee or Seattle.
9-How do you start and develop a project? (do you do underdrawing or use a photography as a starting point, or sketching with the graphic pen...?)
I start like most people and do really small and quick thumbnail sketches to get the ideas down on paper. Once I have a few I like I go straight to the computer and flesh them out in Adobe Illustrator. They eventually end up being collaged in Photoshop using shapes and textures i create by hand.
10-Do you have any other illustrator you really admire?
I currently have crushes on Jon Han, Joohee Yoon, Dadu Shin, Julianna Brion and Ping Zhu just to name but a few.
11-Favorite magazines or websites you feel like recommending?
12-Wat would you like to be able to achieve in the future personally and work-related?
I want to do more emotionally driven assignments, fiction pieces, covers for novels, eventually I'd like to try my hand at children's books. Once i finish grad school I'd like to get back into a musical project of some kind, teach my son how to play drums, oh and take part in more group art shows.
To have more infos about Keith and his absolutely stunning works please visit his website:
or email him to: firstname.lastname@example.org