How would you describe your art - in one sentence, or a short phrase.
Historical subjects meet modern materials and techniques.

Photo of you in your studio; or beside an art piece that you like.

One sentence to describe your studio / the place you work.
I have a beautiful studio at 401 Richmond awarded to me by an anonymous donor when I graduated from OCAD University; big bright windows, exposed brick walls and original hardwood floors.

Photos of your 3 best artworks, the title and a short description.

Spray paint and acrylic on canvas
Syrinx was risky for me, but paid off tenfold. The background is lightly dyed raw canvas, so the drips from the spray paint had to work just right; there was no redoing them.

Syrinx was the first in a series I’m currently working on addressing classical representations of violence against women and the problematic paintings done by male artists to sexualize and shame victims.

This figure in particular was taken from a painting of Pan and Syrinx where she was moments away from being raped. Taken out of the context of the original painting, we can celebrate the woman herself.

Acrylic and paint marker on wood panel
This painting features a colour palette I’m quite fond of: almost black and white, but with warm browns and creams.

The experimentation in the background and on the chest is really exciting for me because with this techniques, I don’t know what it will look like until its dried.

The marker obscuring the face was scary to do, but the result was perfect and the buyer was very happy with it.

The Skeleton Queen *
*Oil , gold leaf and engraving on found canvas

This painting has many layers. It started on a found canvas with another painting underneath, creating interesting texture.

The halo was inspired by this. The Skeletons were taken from Hans Holbien’s Danse Macabre and engraved into the painting, revealing in places greens and reds from the painting beneath.

The portrait was very traditional, and complimented the feeling of the piece beautifully.

Most memorable art commission - what was the piece about, who commissioned the art, what was the experience like.
I had a collector approach me and ask me to do a painting that would compliment another painting he had purchased from me. We worked together to select subject matter and colours, and I completed the painting as usual, checking in with him throughout the process.

The two paintings complimented each other perfectly and looked as if they had been done as a pair in the first place.

How you work with your clients - a short description of how you develop concepts and ideas, and collaborate with your clients.
I let the painting dictate how I work with the client. Some paintings require more contact, while others are very cut and dry.

For the most part, I work with the client to make sure the reference material is of usable quality, then get to work on painting, sending images and checking in at key points in the process.

What/who inspires you?
I’m heavily inspired by the old masters and the time I spent living and working in Florence, Italy. I also look at a lot of contemporary abstract art for inspiration in techniques.

I’m a huge fan of Nicola Samori’s paintings, and his combination of historical references and dark, modern techniques.

Browse Keight MacLean's artworks on The Commissioned.