Written by Regina Herring
Have you ever thought what a wonderful world we live in? The song of the same title by Louis Armstrong describes the beauty around us. Whether its birds singing, beautiful butterflies or snow falls; the sights and sounds are amazing. We all have a favorite season most enjoy summer, but I personally love fall. The cooler weather and the colors make my days more pleasant.
Keshida Layone who resides in Philadelphia started his career in the world of fashion as a stylist and he worked for some of the big names in the fashion industry. After getting married and moving to D.C. there was a period he became bored and he decided to redo some old paintings. This seems to have happened overnight. Keshida loved painting and the feeling it gave him. Art is very therapeutic.
His wife has a friend who teaches art and is also an artist. She wanted to see his work and at first he was hesitant because he was scared of the critiques and being judged. But, to Keshida’s surprise, she loved his work and told him he is talented with a gift. From 2005-2010 he painted every other month mostly a lot of abstract pieces. He played with different mediums and used everything available in his house.
Keshida also started visiting art stores and while there art students would teach him about the different products. As he was experimenting he decided he liked acrylics and water colors. Sometimes he would combine spray paint because he was fascinated by way it bled on paper and the texture it left on canvases. The quick drying was a plus as well.
In 2012, Keshida had his first solo show in Brooklyn at The Bishop Gallery where he showcased every piece of his work and sold five.
A personal goal as well as inspiration for Keshida was to create a 12 piece series that represent African Americans. This could be paintings of the hands, part of the nose or lips but to represent our different colors. He wanted to use people, animals and nature. This led to one of his most popular pieces “Endangered” which is actually number 2 in the series. “Be Still” is the first.
“Endangered” is a piece that incorporates the endangered spices (nature) with the African American man who is also becoming instinct. This is a really good piece and it speaks very loud. It’s also a subtle piece so you have to pay close attention in order to catch what its saying.
Keshida’s dream project would be to create a mural in every major city in American that’s highly populated. These mural would be about awareness – endangered animals, pollution struggles we are going through now. He’s at peace in nature and the earth is his inspiration. Keshida wants people to feel something when they look at his pieces. He hopes part of his legacy would be that people realize he was true to himself.
Currently Keshida and his wife are working on a book about nature. More details will be provided in the future.
You can find these pieces and more on his website at breatheart.gallery or follow him on Instagram @Keshida_Layone for instant updates.