Kenosha-based artist Keith Jackson presented his paintings depicting his childhood memories during an Archer Gallery Art Talk on February 18.
Jackson was born in Essex, MO, a small town where he found inspiration. He started using oil paints on canvas and panel in 1984, and is mostly self-taught. In 2019, Jackson had his first show at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, who he is now represented by.
As evident in his paintings, such as one of three boys riding bikes on a country road called Going Home, or one of a family watching TV called Saturday Morning, Jackson often portrays themes of familiar closeness and warm sentiments.
Steven Zevitas, the gallery owner and director, asked Jackson if he’d be willing to do a show after Jackson’s son showed him a untitled painting Jackson had done of a Black person’s hand holding cotton. At first, Jackson felt conflicted.
“I really didn’t want to do it at this point in my life,” Jackson said.
After some convincing from his son and realizing what a rare opportunity this was, Jackson decided to do the show and is grateful for his son’s encouragement to move forward.
“This is the painting that actually got me started and got me my first show, which is amazing,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s painting “Saturday Morning,” received massive recognition before Jackson’s first show. A few days before the show, Jackson posted the painting on instagram and was contacted by famous basketball star Michael Jordan, who had taken interest in the painting.
“He messaged me a few times, he said ‘dude I need that painting.’ He’s like ‘that’s me watching Transformers before the school bus,’” Jackson said.
Jordan didn’t end up getting the painting, but Jackson believes all his paintings that sold ended up in good homes.
“Doing these paintings just takes me back to when I was a kid,” Jackson said. “I had more fond memories than bad memories.”
A recording of Jackson’s Art Talk, as well as past Art Talks from other artists, can be found at the Archer Gallery website.