Meet the Artists of the Month For #CMweird: Jay Keeree
We had the privilege of working with three talented artists whose work dances on the edges of weird. Their work plays with perception, widens our boundaries of what we consider normal, and allows us to explore the strange and the new.
Studying artwork provides a glimpse into the artist’s worldview, but it rarely paints a fuller understanding of what motivates their work. When things get weird, it’s helpful to get curious, which is why we interviewed them.
Meet Jay Keeree
Theera (Jay) Keeree is a designer/animator and a part-time multimedia artist. Growing up in a family of booksellers in Bangkok, Thailand, he has developed an interest in graphic arts and visual communication from the start. He is constantly fascinated by the power of design, both for static and time-based media, which can create changes in different levels. He also loves the process of experimentation with different media and tools to create works that are unconventional, intriguing, and hopefully influential.
How did you get your start?
After graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, I started my career animating in a branding agency. It was a really great learning experience, both professionally and personally. Nevertheless, my start really began after I have left the place and gone freelance. Freelance period was actually the first time which I started to think about what I really want to do and how I would grow as a designer. As a result, I developed a personal animated gif project on my free time called “Outlets” and shared it with friends on social media. It felt great, and people seemed to like them. The ongoing project really helps me in developing my personal style and forcing myself to learn new things.
How did you arrive where you are today, doing the work that you do now?
It probably began with my gut, which decides that I should draw or make art for a living. I started doing graphic design work through middle school and high school before being introduced to animation in college, which really opened up new possibilities for my work. I always try to keep myself open-minded and see my work as an evolving thing.
But apart from work (the dreaded word!), having a great network of people has been very important to my journey - family, friends, teachers, co-workers. They guided me to where I am today.
How do you get weird? Celebrate it in your work?
I think the ‘weird’ quality is about pushing the limit of what’s normal by asking “why don’t we push it a little more, but not too far off that it becomes too obscure.” For me, I like to take things or ideas that are familiar and then spin it until it feels “right” — not a definite kind of right, but a forgiving, ever-shifting, strange kind of right that might have been made up with all kinds of wrongs. An intended response to my work can be something like, "Hmmm..that’s weird, but I kinda like it.”
What’s your weirdest superpower?
Making weird incompetent dance moves on the dance floor. No big deal.
What’s the local creative community in your city like?
I’ve stayed in Philly for two years now and grown attached to it. The city is affordable and has got a really supportive community of artists/designers that are as proud of this city as you are. Not only that, the place has got a rich history and diverse communities of inspiring people, all accessible within a half-hour subway ride. It’s a perfect place for someone who’s just starting out like me.
What’s one piece of wisdom you’d give to someone who is just getting their start?
Take the time to patiently develop your personal work outside of your day job and be confident in it. You might find that your work is a little weird, different, or unconventional, but that’s a unique quality which sets you apart from other people. Of course, the process comes with discouraging moments full of doubts too, but stick to it.
Headshot photo credit Ryan Greenberg.
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