Keith Buswell graduated with a BFA in art University of Nebraska--Lincoln. He works with various printmaking processes such as screen-printing, intaglio and mono printing and dabbles in drawing and multimedia. His work has been shown in the United States, Egypt, and Italy. Notably, Keith received the Perry Family Award in 2018 and was a contributing artist to issue #23 of The Hand Magazine. He recently finished a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska and at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, Maryland. Originally from Council Bluffs, Iowa, he currently lives in Lincoln with his husband Brad and his dog Max.
At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become an artist? Did the realization emerge slowly?
From a young age, I have always been drawn to pencil as a means of interpreting the world around me. In high school, my interests swung toward performance, music and theater, so I put the pencil down in favor of the microphone. When I decided to go back to school in my mid thirties, I struggled with what I wanted to study. I took three classes on subjects that interested me in communication, biological science, and art to try and spark a decision within me. Needless to say, the art history class was the tiebreaker.
How did you evolve your style and favorite mediums?
I wanted to take a more practical approach to art making, coming into the art world so late in life, so I had this idea that I wanted to start a t-shirt printing company. I specialized in printmaking and discovered copper plate etchings, whose needle I connected with much like the pencil of my youth. At that point, the need to create works of art far exceeded the stability of creating a commodity, so I switched tracks yet again.
What are your time management techniques? Do you have regular working hours...or favorite times to work?
I am lucky at this point to be with someone who does have a stable career that allows me to work part time at an artist supply store and devote much of my time planning and creating. At the same time learning more about art mediums and the practice of local artists. As a morning person, I work more productively in the morning into early evening, so that is when I get the most done.
Do you work on more than one piece at a time, or primarily just on one?
One thing I discovered through my printmaking practice is that I am a process-oriented person. I enjoy every aspect of creating a print, from drawing a sketch to etching the plate to printing an edition. Because of that, I usually find myself overlapping the work I do; overlapping the process of making a print so I can experience multiple stages at one time without getting too weary of focusing on one step. My subject matter also dictates the need to work on more than one piece as one time, as I am determined to not make an image of a tree, but an exhibit showcasing a forest.
Does trying something new and not knowing the rules -- the boundary pushing -- create anxiety or excitement in you? (Or both?)
As I stated before, I have keen interests in science and communication, so looking at the natural world and finding correlations to the human condition are important to me. Bringing new ideas into visual arts is not only a way for me to connect with my interests, but also a way to connect these ideas with a broader public, thus furthering the discussion and expanding my own knowledge. Beyond that, I look to scientific illustrations, especially from The Architecture of Trees, and surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali and Michael Barnes.
Do you enjoy having the "duality of both chaos and control" or are you happiest with a set plan?
In my mind I love the idea of having a set plan, but I generally learn something new or something arises during the production of my work that leads me in new directions on the plate I am working. So in the end, what I create is not always what I had envisioned. That’s a good thing, whether it turns into something better than I had in mind or I learn more about the mistakes I have made.
Do you have any projects or events forthcoming?
Right now I am sort of at a lull in my artistic endeavors. From September until November I had two large shows in Lincoln, Nebraska and two residencies, one at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the arts in Nebraska City, NE and at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD that kept me pretty busy. I am currently looking to show my work outside of Lincoln. I do have work in upcoming Delta National Small Prints Exhibition in Jonesboro, Arkansas and the 40 Under 40: Young Artist National Showcase in Annapolis, Maryland, both of which I am very excited about.
34” x 29”
Screen print with graphite mounted on fur
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54” x 20”
Etching mounted on fabric
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19" x 16"
Etching mounted on synthetic grass
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14" x 12.5"
Etching mounted on fur