In this Artist Profile, The Growler gets inside the mind of Twin Cities multimedia artist Jake Keeler.
by Joseph Alton
Name: Jake Keeler
Growler: Tell us something strange about yourself?
Jake Keeler: Not so much strange, but perhaps interesting to Growler readers: I’m the Chair of the American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee, and a member of the Brewers Association Board of Directors.
G: How would you explain yourself to someone you have never met?
JK: Good question. I guess I would want people to know that I’m the kind of person that stays committed to my interests. I’m all about family, fishing, art, beer and soccer. Same stuff I was into when I was 5 years old (beer being the exception to that). There’s variation in those interests over time, but the basic themes stay the same. I have no intention of straying from that path.
G: How did you get into (beer) art?
JK: Art – My grandfather was a commercial artist here in St. Paul, my mom is an artist and was an art teacher, my brother is an artist—it’s in my blood I guess. I don’t think I ever “got into” art; it’s been there since day one.
Beer – I like everything about it: how it’s made, the history, and of course enjoying it. I started homebrewing back in my undergrad days, then eventually found myself working in the homebrewing industry, and now I work in the craft beer industry. It’s become part of my life.
G: Preferred medium(s)?
JK: Pen and ink, oils, spray paint, bones.
G: Do you have a favorite artist? If so, what about that person’s work inspires you?
JK: No favorites really. I dig on anyone that makes honest work with deliberation, no matter what the genre/media/category.
G: What’s the single coolest art project you have had an opportunity to work on? And why?
JK: Sorry, I can’t pick one! However, I think when I can create something that connects with another one of my interests like beer, fly fishing, or music that I admire, that gives me the greatest enjoyment. Having “art” have a purpose beyond itself is rather gratifying.
G: What can the community do to support artists like yourself?
JK: Shift your perception of art to something like this: Art is about creative problem solving and creative expression of ideas. ART should be applied to politics, science, social work, education, finance, business, and other sectors that will impact society. Ultimately, learning how to think as an “artist” is as valuable as learning how to employ scientific method, basic math, and basic communication. It shouldn’t be an elective, it should be a requirement. The caveat to this is it’s a two way street—artists, get over yourselves and stop promoting the idea that your ideas and work are above the fray.
G: What are your other passions in life? How do they influence your art?
JK: Family, fly fishing, beer, soccer…natch. I draw fish for one, but at large I think they keep my work and attitude grounded.
G: Favorite beer bar in the Twin Cities?
JK: Muddy Pig.
G: What’s in your fridge right now?
JK: Summit’s Oktoberfest, Sierra Nevada’s Flipside, and a bunch of beers from Munich.