Patrick Keefer creates paintings with incredible depth and detail with only stencils and layers of spray paint. Despite working 60+ hour weeks recently (on top of preparing for his May wedding), the Queens resident squeezed in a few minutes to talk to Untapped New York about his art.
Untapped Cities: Can you tell me a little bit about your style?
Pat: I consider myself a stencil artist. My medium is spray paint and hand-cut stencils. Almost all of the imagery I create comes from my original photography. I love walking the streets of somewhere I have not been and snapping photos of things other people would just pass by. I then break down a photograph into color fields. The further I break an image down, the more life like it becomes. Stenciling is a challenge process; it takes time and patience.
Untapped Cities: Why spray paint? What made you chose this as your medium of choice?
Pat: Spray paint has always been a part of my life. I fell in love with graffiti from a young age. My mom supported my art, so she would by me any supplies I needed. Spray paint to me is extremely versatile. It has the ability to be transparent or opaque, rigid or feathered. It comes in a variety of colors.
100 Faces of You
Untapped Cities: What is your first memory of drawing/creating?
Pat: I remember back in elementary school, drawing on my desk wild creations from city-scapes to creatures, basically anything that came to mind. My teacher would yell at me but I never stopped doing it. Each day I would come back in to a cleaned desk and would start again.
Untapped Cities: What inspires you?
I find inspiration is everyday life, people you meet, things you see or hear. My visuals come from photographs of locations people walk by everyday. I just take time to notice them, capture them and devote time to recreating them.
Untapped Cities: What work do you most enjoying doing?
For me, stenciling is about the process. Finding the perfect composition, and making it come to life one layer at a time. I love losing track of time, listening to good music while Xacto-ing out the tiniest holes in paper in the late hours of the night; knowing that with every detail I add in the paper will make the painting that much more realistic in the end.
Untapped Cities: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a wide respect for all artists. Coming from a graffiti background, I am a huge fan of Shepard Fairey (OBEY), Barry McGee (TWIST), Retna and C215, just to name a few. On the other side of the spectrum, I do love some of the old masters, Rembrandt and Da Vinci. I do not limit myself when it comes to viewing art, whether it is seeing a new up-incoming artist first show in a tiny gallery in Brooklyn or going to MET or Guggenheim and viewing world famous pieces.
Untapped Cities: What is your favorite color?
Pat: Choosing a favorite color for me is very difficult. I would have to say currently I have been working in the orange spectrum a lot.
Untapped Cities: What is your dream project or collaboration?
Pat: My dream project has to do with the scale of my pieces. I have done small paintings and have gone as large as four feet by 8 feet. I want to go real big, like side of an entire building or the width of a NYC block.
Untapped Cities: Howdo you see your work evolving over the next 5 years?
Pat: With stenciling you are only limited by your own skills. In the next five years, I plan to refine my skills and work on different surfaces potentially working in the third dimension. I also think it is extremely important to understand the business side of the art world. This has been a personal conflict for me.
Piece Me Together
Untapped Cities: What is your first memory of NYC?
Pat: I was 11 or 12 years old when I rode the LIRR into NYC for the first time with a few kids who painted graffiti. We went all over the city and the underground that day. We left our mark on everything; walls, light posts, phone booths, stairwells and subway cars. It was a rush for me but I didn’t think of the consequences.
Untapped Cities: What does your workspace look like?
Pat: I’m always so interested to see how other artists set up their space. I make all of my paintings in my apartment in Queens. I create the layers on my laptop, using Illustrator, print out the large format stencils on a wide format printer and then use my coffee table as a desk to cut my stencils. I have bookshelves filled with sketchbooks, artist books, magazines and folders of old stencils. Not to mention, my entire house is covered in my paintings; every wall in every room.
Untapped Cities:Where can we find your work?
Pat: My work is showcased online at www.thinkmoreink.com.