Jack Keough


Instagram: @Artist_Jack_Keough

Facebook: @Artist Jack Keough

When did art become a pursuit for you?

After two years of study at Suffolk University where I had intended to become a lawyer.

Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art?

I’m a classically trained oil painter and studied extensively at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design under George Nick and Paul Rahilly. Both are recognized masters in contemporary American painting, and at the time were on staff at MassArt. I also studied sculpture there under Dr. Legg.

How did you first become involved with ArtsWorcester?

I’d exhibited several times many years ago, but also spent time elsewhere concentrating on painting with specific one-man shows. I’ve recently been juried into some really good local shows, and am now very happy to be back with the prestigious and significantly larger group of our Worcester artists.

What medium do you currently work in, and how did you choose this medium?

While oils are always my first love, they get expensive quickly. Years ago I stumbled into Cray-Pas and loved them until my wife and son got me two different professional brands of oil pastels: no drying times, oil paint color blending, and as many as five paintings done in one day (a really good day, and a really long day)!

What is your creative process?

I work from photos and candids because modeling is really hard! So I steal my moments and work the photograph until my composition is a beautiful painting, and then I try not to think! I try to get as intuitive as possible and chase colors around the composition until it starts to define form. Repetition over forty years helps. I tell people after the first ten thousand pieces it gets a little easier. Then you can really start things going in your work.

I also really, really do appreciate and understand the intended compliment of, “It looks just like a photo!” But as a painter, I’m hoping when you’re six feet in front of my original work and can see the actual colors, strokes, and textures, you say, “Wow, that’s a beautiful painting!” That three second reaction is my real paycheck.

How do you choose your subject matter? Are there themes that recur throughout your work?

I have numerous themes in my catalogue including foliage, portraits, found object still lifes, and body landscapes which are details of the human form. I’m inspired by quite a lot of things, but I think my strong suit is recognizing an inspiration in the moment and being willing to seize it, act on it, or turn the car around and go shoot it with my cell, and then to edit that photo into a strong yet personal composition.

What living artists are you inspired by?

David Jon Kassan is a friend of mine and I think he is the best portrait painter alive today. I have many other artist friends like Tony Hirsh and Fabian Perez, and political cartoonist Steve Brodner.

Do you own any art by other artists?

Yes, but they won’t all fit into the 150 word limit! I love all sorts of art and mediums, not just my own.

What other media or directions would you like to explore?

I’m also a sculptor and writer, and lately a loud and blatant political activist!


Lesson Plan Number One, oil pastel, 12″ x 17″