Author: Barbara Gallo Farrell, Poughkeepsie Journal
Featured: brian P. Keyes
When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
I’m actually just starting to consider myself as an artist. I always aspired to be a designer and loathed art to some extent. As I explore deeper into design, the more I find both the art and design intertwining, and that is what really interests me lately.
How did you become interested in industrial design?
Since I was a kid, I was always making some sort of object with my hands. The satisfaction of holding a beautiful object that was crafted with my own hands is something I doubt I will ever let go of. Industrial design, as a profession, lets me carry out my passion for craft and mix in a very human element.
Do you stick to a certain theme in your work or like to explore new techniques and subjects?
Currently, as a student, I am flinging myself into anything and everything that comes my way. I very much believe in the principles set forth by Massimo Vignelli: Design is One. Once you learn to design in a specific field, the same process and way of thinking can be applied to any field of design. That being said, I find an affinity toward home furnishings and objects that have a positive, daily impact on an individual’s life.
Do you think creative individuals like yourself perceive the world differently from other people?
For me, our world is made up of objects that someone, a designer or not, took time to define how a person would interact with it and how it affects their life. So, yes! I’m flipping it over, looking underneath, examining, touching, prodding, taking apart, analyzing everything around me to see how it works and how it could be improved. And this is a trait shared by almost ever passionate designer I know.
What do you consider to be some of your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths are adaptability and quick learning. Weaknesses: Lack of corporate and professional experience.
What is your personal vision for your work?
If my work can bring a bit of joy or ease to anyone’s daily life, that is the greatest satisfaction. I’m ready to pursue whatever I can to make that a reality.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Of course, I must pay my due respects to the mid-century design masters: Eames, Jacobsen, Saarinen, Rams, Mathsson, and so many others whose designs continue to stand tall among any contemporary design. Currently, I’ve been fascinated with Jasper Morrison and his Super Normal design principles, as well as a ton of designs coming out of the New Nordic movement in Scandinavia.
If we were to get a peek inside your journal or sketchbook, what would we see?
Ideas yet to come to fruition, hastily jotted dimensions for the wood shop, quotes from A.H. Maslow, robots, hexadecimal color codes and really anything I cannot afford to let slip my mind.
What are you working on now?
I’m in talks with both Kikkerland Design (famous for their wind-up toys) and Herman Miller (office and home furnishing giant) for potential production designs. No promises yet, but my work might be hitting the shelves near you soon. In addition, I’m pursuing a senior capstone project for my undergraduate studies at Rochester Institute of Technology on minimal, portable kitchens.
What type of art decorates your home?
Many of the objects decorating my home are bits and pieces of personal projects from throughout college; form exercises, small glass animals, metal explorations and giant wooden clothespins dot my shelves.
What excites you about art — what keeps you interested?
It’s really the fact that designs from just four or five years ago now are starting to feel outdated. It’s an incredibly difficult problem to attempt to predict and forecast the future of design and design-art, yet tremendously addictive and exhilarating.