Shelby Keefe reflects on her time as the Pfister Hotel’s resident artist

23 Feb, 2012

by Ed Makowski

Shelby Keefe has been the Pfister’s resident artist since April 2011. As all great things eventually come to an end, her studio torch will be passed to Timothy Westbrook in April 2012. Shelby and I had been trying to get together and talk for a few weeks and it turned out to be a good thing we couldn’t meet until this past Monday. When I walked in to her studio Shelby was standing in front of a painting. She had her hands on her hips and kept shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Then she’d cross her arms, and “hmm,” before returning the hands to her hips.  Her head tilted slowly from side to side, and alternated between looking above and through her glasses. The painting she contemplated was the largest I’ve seen on her easel.

It turned out she was at work on her legacy piece, the one which will join the Pfister Hotel’s vast permanent collection. The painting was complete, but was the painting FINISHED? Was it ready to be signed? The artist was still deliberating. I don’t want to ruin her unveiling by telling you what the piece looks like, but I will tell you the unveiling party is scheduled March 27th (more details to come). Until then you’ll have to stop by and try to figure out which canvas in her studio will rest for all time next to works by Reginald Baylor and Katie Musolff.

While Shelby contemplated the piece we talked about her time as the Pfister’s resident artist, and by the miracle of modern technology you can listen in to our conversation. Simply click the Play button below. She discusses her process of creating a painting, how she knows when a work is finished, and her experience while working as an artist on display.

If you’d rather download the piece and listen on your mp3 player, smartphone, etc. simply click the DOWN pointing arrow on the right side of the player and the Download option will appear.

Shelby Keefe reflects on her time as Pfister Hotel resident artist by Ed Makowski

About the author

Ed Makowski

Ed Makowski is a poet/writer/artist/radio personality/gatherer of stories and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While working as Eddie Kilowatt he released two poetry books, Manifest Density and Carrying a Knife in to the Gunfight. Density was included in Best New Poetry of 2006 and Gunfight received the Carma Writer’s Award. Both were released on his indy press Full Contact Publishing. Ed is also a regular contributor of interviews to Lake Effect on Milwaukee’s NPR station 89.7 WUWM. This is also where he curates The Lunch Counter storytelling series. Through April the Pfister Hotel is home to The Lunch Counter. Ed will serve as the Pfister Narrator through April 2012. Ed is also working on a few different poetry books, each taking overtly different directions; dialogue poems, history poems, longer storytelling poems. Between writing projects and working Ed likes to ride motorcycles and backpack into the middle of nowhere.

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