Artist Spotlight: Captain Keenan

By Raven Brajdic

Remember that fancy dinner scene from “Titanic”? Jack Dawson told Rose’s mother, “I got everything I need … air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up … not knowing what’s gonna happen … who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up” (http://imdb.to/2oYB2oQ).

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Photo courtesy of Captain Keenan.

Captain “Cap” Keenan is kind of like that.

A painter, illustrator, digital designer and printmaker, Cap woke at 5:00 a.m. the day of our interview. “I work and live on the fly. I never know what I’m doing until I get the phone call and someone says, ‘Hey, do you want to do this?’ and I go, ‘Yeah, why not?’”

For him, it’s all about balance. By day Cap works as a freelance digital designer with ten years’ experience helping clients with everything from branding and photography to shirts and posters.

“But at night is when the paint comes out,” he said.

Completely self-taught, Cap has been drawing since childhood. He concentrated on painting after high school, honing digital and fine art skills through hands-on work at agencies and studios.

Now, his focus is shifting toward vibrant, surreal murals, as well as commissioned work. One of his upcoming projects will be at the third annual Beer ’Merica craft beer festival at Gaston Edwards Park Saturday, May 20.

Cap’s signature style incorporates vivid colors into his paintings, with foxes, elephants and other animals making frequent appearances. In one piece, “Paths of Uncertainty,” chaotic copper, silver and gold depict an Alces alces (moose) navigating an untamed, unpredictable environment, “acknowledging the wisdom of old and the resilience of youth to overcome the great challenges ahead of its life’s adventures,” Cap explains.

Bright canvases and murals spring out from the warehouse walls as Cap, followed by his rescue retriever, Rosko, gives me what he calls the “dime tour.” One stretch of wall is completely filled with doodles and signatures from friends, family and studio visitors.

“People are the ultimate inspiration. Whether it’s meeting someone and sharing a couple of laughs but never talking to them again, or meeting someone and then next thing you know you’ve been friends for ten years. You never know who it is when you meet.”

"Paths of Uncertainty" by Captain Keenan

“Paths of Uncertainty” by Captain Keenan

Captain Keenan lets life take him where it will. Early on the day of our scheduled meeting, Cap agreed to help a friend work an event. The job? Transporting celebrities on golf carts at the Star Wars Celebration happening at that time in Orlando.

He met Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in “The Force Awakens.” The actress advised him about this upcoming interview. “She told me, ‘Just go in there positive. People have good intentions. Don’t worry about it.’ And I was like, ‘Cool. I’ll go that route.’”

Cap might be a Jedi at heart, because that seems like advice he learned long ago. A positive spirit who sees the brighter side of a situation, he frequently returns to the topics of positivity and open-mindedness.

“I’ve always tried to seek a peace with life. I’ve had money. I’ve lost money. I’ve been rich. I’ve been poor. I’ve realized the entire time that it’s all your attitude.”

Check out Captain Keenan’s work at www.captainkeenan.com.

One Response to “Artist Spotlight: Captain Keenan”

  1. Ron Burgundy
    May 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    Hellll yeah this guy is awesome. Baked potato

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