Maggie Keane: Born: November 14, 1955 in Brooklyn, NY Maggie's family moved to NJ when she was 6 where she developed a lifelong fascination with animals and all things natural. NJ horse country provided her with many opportunities to concentrate on the animal that would become her favorite subject matter.
After graduating from St. John Vianney high school, Maggie was hired by Great Adventure Amusement Park in Jackson, NJ as a portrait sketch artist.
In 1977, Maggie graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor in Fine Arts Degree and became a Courtroom Artist for KVOA TV. One of her first cases was the Don Bolles murder trial. When cameras were finally allowed in the courts, sketching was restricted to the Federal courts only. Other freelance jobs included newspaper advertising and catalogue illustrations, portraits of tourists at Old Tucson , and restoration of several of the animals on the antique carousel there.
Maggie spent the summer of 1981 sketching portraits in Central Park, then returned to Phoenix and was hired as a pictorial billboard painter reproducing photographs in oil on massive 14 x 48 feet panels. During the late 80s, Maggie became involved in the restoration of the Le Grande Carrousel of Lake Havasu City, and the Encanto Park Carousel in Phoenix . When pictorial billboards were replaced by printed vinyl wraps, Maggie switched to airbrushing city buses in the early 1990s. The Phoenix Suns were the first to use painted buses. In a matter of a few years, however, these would also become vinyl wraps.
In 1992, the Culpepper & Merriweather circus hired Maggie to paint their trucks, where she met her husband, who was a performer looking for an assistant. During her 6 years in the circus ring, Maggie continued painting vehicles, portraits of people and animals, while documenting circus life here and abroad with her camera for future subject matter.
Maggie's husband has since retired from the circus. After 14 years of teaching high school math, he has started his own circus instruction company empowering kids with circus skills. They have a 20 year old son who attends Scottsdale Community College as a film student who juggles fire and rides a 6 ft. unicycle.
"DAMMIT, JIM, I'M A PAINTER, NOT A PONTIFICATOR!"
Artist statement by Maggie Keane
So here goes. My world is pictorial. I prefer to portray it on a grand scale. Medium of choice: oil paint, usually on canvas, but enjoy the use of some nice Medium Density Overlay, which was the primary substrate in billboard painting. Brushes, primarily, but proficient in airbrushing and other spray systems. Subject matter: anything that screams "PAINT ME!" and, to which my huge pile of photographs can attest, lots of things want to be painted and they're all jockeying for position.
I like surprising people, getting reactions, maybe a little confusion over whether it's actually painted or a blown up photograph. Part of me needs to prove something and I'm still trying to figure out what it is. I like to challenge myself to make things look exactly as they are, then add something else that's not there or couldn't possibly be there ever. Or, just leave it the way it is, I never know what I'll ultimately decide as the piece progresses. Then I like to surround it with an outline in the form of a frame that possesses some quality linking it to the image. It's either like a continuation of what's going on visually, or like wrapping a gift with paper, ribbon and bows that all match or relate to the gift exclusively. This I've been doing to my latest paintings and will continue as a tradition. In other words, there are some earlier works without personalized frames. When I finish a painting I really want it to look as finished as I feel with it.
I like people to look at what I paint with an open mind. I love to hear the personal meanings people assign to what they are viewing. So far, my least favorite was "We don't get it." from a Scottsdale gallery and my favorite: "Oh, now this person is obviously disturbed." overheard at another Scottsdale gallery. How I love art.
Baked on Paint