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Figurative and Symbolic: Art by John Keaton

A drawing of a waterfall by John KeatonWaterfall

John Keaton is a Pennsylvania-based traditional artist, whose work has wide range in terms of both style and medium. John’s work tends to be figurative and symbolic in subtle ways, and the artist often adapts his subject matter to suit a particular medium.


A detailed drawing of a kit foxKit Fox

I like the sense of contrast in John’s portfolio, even between his color works and his black and white works. The style takes on a celebratory, explorative feeling – his color works tend to be flattened and simplified to better accommodate large planes of color, whereas his black and white works are dense with detailed line art and textural moments.


A screen capture of John Keaton's art


John’s children’s book illustrations take the artist’s style to a different extreme, with enlarged eyes on figures, and smooth textures throughout. I especially like John’s kid-friendly illustrations of animals, and the way the eyes seem inspired by animated characters from various moments in pop culture.

A drawing of a cartoon owlOllie Owl

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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