Swift Cream Factory Images
meet Artist: Keith McLaurin
By: MD Marcus
Photos courtesy of Keith McLaurin
photo by Anita Purnell
The heels of my boots echo along the solid
concrete floor as I enter the underground studio
located in popular Glenwood South of Raleigh,
NC. Having no windows, the opened door behind me provides the only light and as my eyes
began adjusting to the darkness the artist I am
here to meet fumbles to find the right switches.
One by one, various overhead light fixtures
come on and illuminate a cool industrial space
with low ceilings, exposed beams, wires, pipes,
and structural support poles. The walls feature
paintings and photographs ranging from landscapes to tropical fantasies to androgynous models, and to add to this eclectic mix, a table in the
middle of the room offers black walnut bowls
crafted by a local artisan. This is Pitch Media
Gallery (PMG) located in The Carter Building,
and this is where artist Keith McLaurin exhibits
his Swift Cream Factory Images.
Originally from Clinton, NC, he came to Raleigh nearly 15 years ago to pursue his career.
Working diligently over the past 9 years, he
has stockpiled paintings in preparat ion for his
coming out as a professional artist. He has over
100 original paintings; some at the PMG, others
at his home or in storage, and yet more hanging
in different shops all over the city- The Wine
Feed, BJ Blades, Freestyle Braids N Locs, and
Timeless Styles Salon to name a few. Practicing
his craft everyday (he reiterates to me the word
“everyday”) there will be no shortage of pieces
by this extremely self-disciplined and unique
talent anytime soon.
McLaurin (also known to friends and family as
“Swift” because he is constantly on the move
and because of his ability to create major pieces
of art quickly) points out his paintings which
line the left wall as you enter the gallery. His
work is comprised mostly of oil and acrylic
paints, and for texture he uses glass beads,
granular flakes, sand, dirt, rocks, and leaves.
Motley canvases with bold characters invite you
to come on inside. You are welcome to stare.
Take it all in. His self-titled style of Vibe Art,
named for the variety of vibrant colors he uses,
is littered with symbolism (notice the ladders,
closed eyes, circles, and wavy lines) and often
communicates themes of relationships or features popular cultural icons and African American historical figures.
Jim Carrey’s gaping mouth, Martin Luther King
Jr.’s tired eyes, and Bob Marley’s laughter simultaneously clamors for my attention.