Simply Elevate January 2014 - Page 23

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. 23