For me, painting is an unscripted act stimulated by an innate passion to create and guided by stillness in mind. It is both physical and contemplative, as spontaneous and reflective movements, layers, and colors, evolve into composition.
Influenced by training and practices in calligraphy and martial arts, each painting begins as a boundless discovery while media and movement transpire on canvas freedom, spirit, and rhythm.
Desert wilderness, NM
I’m captivated by your artwork. It is a reflection of your spirit. Most splendid use of paint. You express the infinite.
- Darek Shapiro -
Keo has developed a significant number of influences in his artistic journey, each of which has shaped his skill and approach in unique ways. His painting practice and process have been deeply influenced after learning the East Asian art of Calligraphy while attending a Zen meditation retreat under the tutelage of artist and Zen scholar Kaz Tanahashi. As a longtime practitioner of the internal martial arts of qi gong and neigong, the calligraphy influence integrated seamlessly into his meditation practice and painting. The way in which he approaches paint on canvas is much the same as one approaches the art of calligraphy.
"In calligraphy, unlike painting, there is no going back to correct things. What is on the paper is there for good, and for this reason, it is called a one-time-only art, as irreversible as time itself."
- Yuji Akimoto
Another significant influence was Jim's encounter with international artist Tadashi Haywakawa while on a tour of an arts center where Tadashi was conducting a workshop. Jim was invited to join that day and began painting with the collective group of artists, and since Tadashi has become a mentor and friend having profound influences in his art and life. Jim's employment of bold colors and the movements of his effortless brushstrokes transpire a spirit and energy influenced by the ancient eastern practices. Being attracted to ancient culture he is often drawn to paint in the wild, predominantly in the Desert Southwest amongst the Ancestral Puebloan landscape and ruins.
Jim has lived in Colorado for 16 years and is also a practicing architect. With his interest in wellbeing and human flourishing, he focuses on the biological and cognitive effects of the built environment and has developed design methodologies and approaches for creating environments that promote occupant health and wellbeing.
With regular trips to the desert, frequent calligraphy retreats, and painting in studio workshops with Tadashi Haywakawa and others, Jim continues to explore and evolve the size, range, and depth of his extempore works.
Bisti De Na Zin, NM
EAST ASIAN CALLIGRAPHY
Through the brush and art of shodo, kanji characters are created with a state of mind known as mushin (no mind state). The foundations of Japanese calligraphy originated in China during the Han dynasty, dating back to 220 AD, with ideographic elements dating as far back as 2500 BC. To practice Shodo calligraphy, one must clear one's mind and let the brush and letters flow out of themselves, effortlessly with no hesitation. purely within the moment. Jim continues to devote time to this practice evolving a style of shodo that is integral to his other work.