Jamil Keyani

By Morgan Booth

Jamil Keyani is a multi disiplinary artist and designer working and living in Vancouver. Heavily involved in the live painting scene  there, Jamil has developed a bold, adventurous and ever evolving painting style. Champion painter of Art Battle 30 in 2012, he returns to the easel March 5th for a chance to be in the Art Battle National 2013 Championships.

Jamil Keyani by Sarah Nonis

                                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Sarah Nonis


How did you get involved in Art Battle? Has it impacted you as an artist?
I got into Art Battle being involved in the live painting community in VanCity. The time limitation and competitive element have forced me to try new techniques and trust my instincts, and the other artists I’ve spent time with have totally changed my approach to painting. It has been a catalyst that resulted in my first solo show and continues to open doors.

Why do you do art?

I do art because I need to. When I was a kid I thought it would be my ticket out of poverty, but I tried to be brilliant the easy way and couldn’t hack it, lost my creative ability to addiction. Art was part of recovery and healing, it opened up the world to me and gave me hope, community, challenged me to face my fears. 
You seem to have a wide array of creative experience, from interior, graphic and fashion design to fine art and sculpture, do you find each to be its own entity? Or do you find they tend to inform each other in your work?
I think art is a language we speak, like math. Your ability to speak it expresses as a visual intuition, as good taste. I think Ira Glass said something about that. Once you have some vocabulary, you can apply it across the board. I tried so many things because I was willing to learn, and I spent time with generous people more fluent in art. Being a jack of all trades gives me a unique perspective, and allows me to remain in a place of learning.
Do you think that community is important in art? 
Community is important in all life, it’s where we get feedback and support. For me it has been the difference between simply getting by, and thriving. I dropped out of college, but I’ve had more teachers and mentors than I can count, being a part of the arts community is how I hone my skills today. 


Jamil will be painting at Art Battle 46, March 5th at Raw Canvas 1046 Hamilton Street, Vancouver


Get Social with Keyani!