Name: Jillian Keats
Hometown: Lakewood, NJ
Current town: Bloomfield, NJ
Job description: College senior, retail zombie, gallery manager, artist’s assistant, fine art photographer, frontwoman, earthling.
Bio: South Jersey native, I have always had a passion for creating in any way possible. Upon attending Montclair State University, I decided to funnel all my creative energies into photography, and fell in love with the black and white darkroom process. More recently, I’ve expanded to experiment with alternative process photography. I love the magical way it turns a photograph into a precious sort of art-object, and the sort of washy ethereal quality you can achieve through certain processes.
Outside of making art, I love to cook huge amount of food for my friends, and sing in a hardcore punk quintet called Ides, which has turned out to be one of the most fun and fulfilling things I’ve ever done with my life.
“Mythology//Psychology” is my first full body of work, a group of photographic still lives representing idiosyncrasies of the human psychological makeup; personality quirks and character flaws. Think of it as a Cabinet of Curiosities of the human mind.
“Dreamlines”: an ongoing project, photo-objects of medium format Holga images as brownprints accompanied by these one-liners. The images are suspended or strung together, like a timeline or walkthrough of a dream you don’t quite understand.
Music is my second passion, and I’ve been involved in the New Jersey punk and hardcore scene for close to 10 years. I am in the process of drafting a video project of a series of interviews and short performances of local bands I see perform/perform with. My working title is “New Jersey’s Got Issues”.
Unfortunately, the school system I was unceremoniously pushed through (I was smart, but not valedictorian material at all, and so was sort of overlooked in many aspects) was focused mostly on math and science, and the arts programs suffered. I did not get any sort of formal artistic training until I started attending Montclair State University in 2009.
I am inspired by the visceral quality of objects and surfaces, the quirks of the human personality, the occult, deepsea marine life, things I find in estate sales/thrift stores, Julia Kristeva’s essays on abjection, the unknown, and of course the imagery and philosophies of David Lynch.
Any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention?
Has the meaning of your work changed over time?
Are you involved with any organizations/ do you collaborate with other artists?
What are a few of your favorite spots in (the area in which you live)?
When I need to escape reality for a few hours and exercise my eye outside of the studio, I go for a walk at the Van Vleck House botanical garden in Montclair or Kip’s Castle in Verona.
Joseph Cornell, Guido Mocafico, Nick Blinko, Hieronymous Bosch, Joel-Peter Witkin, Zeke Berman, Raymond Pettibon, Mark McCoy.
What are you reading?
The “Battle Royale” novelization, way too many VICE Magazine articles, and “Secret Doors of the Universe” by Jacuqes Bergier.
Favorite authors, fiction:
HP Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Robert Heinlein, William Faulkner, Piers Anthony, Voltaire, Jorges Luis Borges
Favorite authors, nonfiction: No favorite nonfiction authors but some titles – the Nick Drake biography – “Darker Than the Deepest Sea”; “Surrealism and the Occult”; essays on queer theory and anarcha-feminism.
Your website(s): jilliankeats.carbonmade.com