Mabel (a.k.a. Super Mabel)

November 24th, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


This summer you may remember that I took part in a fundraising art show in collaboration with Quiznos, for San Diego Comic Con.

They came to me with a theme of Superheros, gave me a Quiznos wrapper mounted on a board, and gave me a deadline. The theme made me think of the usual superheros I grew up with; Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Greatest American Hero, Powdered Toast Man, etc. As tempting as it was to bring one of these characters back from the grave, it just didn’t feel right to use the creative mojo from someone else’s creation.

I let the project sit on the back burners of my mind for about a month, until I the day realized the deadline was only a week away. Motivated by the lack of time, I turned to my most current obsession of the moment, family photographs. My mother is an avid, experienced genealogist, and had sent me some burned DVDs of family photos from both my mother’s and father’s sides. I have several of these photos printed out on my inspiration board, mostly as a cheerleading squad of old, dead people whom I’ve never met. They still cheer me on with their vaguely familiar facial features, their lives lived in a manner that is completely unknown and mysterious to me, and the eery feeling that the evolution of our family bloodline from hundreds of years of struggle and emotional sleepwalking, has all come to a breaking point with me, sitting here with my modern technology, an unexplainable connection to past, and an unnerving empathy of the world around me.

Out of all of this, one photo stood out. An older lady, solid and unfazed by being infront of a camera, stood awkwardly unapologetic with two little girls (one of whom would become my mother). Mabel was her name and she was born in 1881, grew up in Kansas on a farm, had 8 children (one of whom would become my grandfather), and moved to California during the depression when her sons came here for work. My mother remembers her vaguely as being old and frail, and she died a few years after this photo was taken.

The only thing she was missing was a super hero cape and mask. In just a few days I had finished the painting, added a polyurethane sealant on top, and shipped it to the gallery curator, to be seen on the fundraiser night.

The Quiznos Qanvas Fundraiser was a success, and raised over $10,000 for local artists and non-profits. Mabel now lives with someone else in San Diego, but I hear she is doing well, and has a very comfortable spot on the wall.


Why do I paint what I paint?

November 10th, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Why did you choose an Octopus?
Why did you choose to paint him with a sitar?

If you’d like me to make something up in order to sound deep or contemplative and moody, I can. However, usually I just paint. I just paint, then realize something looks octopus-like, then I paint some more, and realize this octopus needs to be doing something. Then I think of a guitar in it’s tentacles, but that seems so boring and expected. Cue a George Harrison song, and a sitar-playing octopus is born, so I just paint.

I used to wish I had some deep philosophical reasoning behind the paintings I make, so that when people stop in front of one in a gallery, they read the artist’s blurb and look back at the painting in awe thinking, “it’s so profound” or, “this artist must be smarter and more philosophical than I, because I have no idea what these words mean, and what they have to do with this painting, but in order to save face as an intellectual art connoisseur, I will nod my head and say how profound this is.”

I have often been confused with some artist’s blurbs about their paintings, and sometimes I think of what it would be like if I chose to bullshit my way through a blurb in order to sound like a profoundly deep artist:

This painting represents the 8 tentacled monster inside of all of us, writhing and slithering through the dense ocean of uncertainty. The sitar, protectively cluched tightly against the body of the octopus, represents the yearning to be the creator of our lives, and to construct an environment of beauty around us, no matter the opinions or rejections of those around us. The eye of the octopus stares straight at the viewer, daring them to object to the song it is about to play.

That’s not bad. I just made it up. Is this how artists create their blurbs about their paintings? Or do most artist plan it out, have the foresight to think about how each element of the painting will have meaning, and to execute the painting according to this plan? If so, I am not this kind of artist. I am one who creates, doesn’t worry about why or what or if it makes sense, and then afterwards, I get to decipher what my unconscious was trying to say.

Last night we went to the reception at the AR4T gallery in Laguna Beach. The octopus was joined my about 70 other pieces all with the loose theme of Art and Nature. Great Gallery, great people. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. This show runs until November 30th. I met the woman who bought the octopus. I am glad it’s going to a musically creative home. Happy travels, octopus!


October 17th, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Days like today, when the leaves are transforming ordinary gutters into Goldsworthy-worthy stripes of orange, I can’t help but feel the change of the season, and with that, a change of perspective.

It takes me back, several sketchbook eras ago, to see my life in segments, stepping stones, sequential stages to the point where I stand now.
From my current perspective, I want to be “there” already. I want to be enlightened, free of doubt, making it as an artist (define that please).
After looking back to see the sequential, crucial stages I went through, I realize how much I have grown. I am “there” if you asked my 22 year-old self.

Choices in life brought me here. I could have studied art in college, but I didn’t. Perhaps that would have been the easy way to do it. Perhaps if I had gone to art school, I would be in a great job with a big company, making art for movies or games or cartoon shows or commercial packaging. That would be great. But it would not be me. I used to kick myself for not taking that route to “success” but now I realize that it is someone else’s definition of success, not mine. I need substance, I need meaningful interaction. Turning out cute drawings to promote profit in other people’s businesses is a great career choice, just not for me.

Are there wrong paths to take in life? Are there even any paths to take other than the one we are on?



October 13th, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Sometimes I feel like I have disconnected with the outside world.

I feel like I have to sometimes when everything around me seems overwhelmingly strong.

I have always been more “sensitive” than those around me, resulting in confusion of why I feel this way; why I felt invalidated for being aware of things people wanted to shove under the rug. Perhaps this is why I cried so much as a baby. Perhaps this is why I have always been a good listener and a great empathetic friend. Perhaps this is why people in my past felt better after they dumped their pent up emotional baggage on me. I am like a sponge, soaking in everything and everyone around me, mistaking it for myself and my own emotions, and neglecting my own well being while relieving others of their negative feelings. Perhaps this is why sometimes I feel like hiding in my art studio, away from the world, to focus just on me.

I am learning though; learning how to observe these sensations and not identify with them. It takes a lot of practice to undo the 30-some years of habitual taking things personally.

It’s comforting to know that I am on my way to understanding my place in the world. Day by day, I am on my way.


Qanvas by Quiznos

July 23rd, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Yes, that would be Canvas, but with a Q.

I am going to art exhibit thursday evening to see my own artwork, as well as 49 other artists’ work.
The show benefits ArtReach, one of the nonprofits I work for, and is appropriately themed “super heroes,” riding on the start of this years Comic-Con convention in San Diego.

Artists were given a clean, unused Quiznos sandwich wrapper to use as their canvas (hence the Qanvas) and free license to create any super hero image they would like.

Here is a sneak peak at where I started with this project; with a little inspiration from my Great Grandmother Mabel, born in 1881, shown here with my mother and her sister in the mid 50’s. The Qanvas made for a challenging surface to paint on. Can’t say I’ve attempted to paint on a sandwich wrapper before this, but now I have. While challenging, I found it enjoyable to creatively tackle the difficulties, and successfully make this a personal tribute to a family member I never met except through black and white photos.

qanvasB4jkThe show is this Thursday, July 24th, at the Space 4 Art Gallery, downtown San Diego. For more information, visit this website.


museum of the living artist

April 3rd, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)



Fun news!
I have a new painting up in a museum in Balboa Park for a six week show.
Opening night is this Saturday, April 5th, and the show runs until mid-May.

The painting above was chosen for their Regional Exhibition. Most of the art displayed (including mine) in the exhibition will be for sale.

More information about the SDAI Museum of the Living artist and the Exhibition can be found on their website.

air guitar hero

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

My mother recently gave me a disk of old family photos she has scanned and archived over the years.
These go back to the mid 1800’s and show me the evolution of my facial features over the last 150 years.

One of my favorites was my grandmother as a wee one playing a ukelele, but then I found one of her mother, a few years prior as a teenager, playing air guitar on a tennis racket in the early 1920’s at her high school in the San Fernando Valley.

Yes. Air guitar. On a tennis racket.
This must be where I get my mad air guitar skills from.



February 23rd, 2014 | Posted by jesskeylon in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

A new year, new items in the etsy store, new website, new outlooks and perspectives.
Also was given some old photos, that are new to me!

My grandma, celebrating in the late 1920’s

15 minutes of your day

January 30th, 2013 | Posted by jessie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

There is something about the magnitude of beauty in this place.



October 28th, 2012 | Posted by jessie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Came across a great slow motion video of ladybugs.
I never knew their wings folded up like that.