Conrad Keely was born in England and spent much of his life traveling. He studied print making and computer graphics at Evergreen State College in 1993, before dropping out to move to Texas start his rock band ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. He is the primary creator of the band's visual aesthetic.
A person's biography does not necessarily define them, it only offers a map of how they arrived at where they are in the present. Their cumulative experiences are nothing more than a trail of memories to draw from - literally - but the future they point towards is forever unpredictable. I've learned this every year of my life, when new circumstances that arise find me in another part of the world, on a new stage in my development. There has never been anything predictable, and I have a suspicion there never will be.
Perhaps for that reason my art has never evolved in one direction, but in many, in a fashion some might accuse of being stylistically irresponsible. I'm happy to take responsibility for that.
I was born in Nuneaton England. At the age of six weeks my mother and I moved to Thailand to be reunited with my father and his family. It was here that I began drawing, at the age of three, so my mother tells me. My earliest memories are that of faithfully copying my uncle's drawings of the Japanese television superhero Kamen Rider X. These are my first memories of holding a ball point pen.
From Thailand we moved to Hawaii and from Hawaii we moved back to England, and this constant movement influenced the way I create. I am comfortable creating on the move, and enjoy the sense of immediacy it engenders. In England I was first introduced to fantasy through Tolkein's Hobbit at age nine, and I would say that from that time onward, I was predominantly a fantasy artist. The world I began at that age is the same one many of my illustrations attempt to bring to live to this day.
When i got involved in the punk movement in the early 1990's I did my best to shrug off the rigidity and academic leanings of my own natural style, with only partial success. Despite my understanding of minimalism, I was never a minimalist. To me, more truly is more. But I don't mind doing less every once in a while when I feel lazy.
I don't think of my work in terms of style so much as content. My art is not preoccupied with an expression of an artistic or even original style, so much as an attempt to convey an idea and tell a story. In that sense I feel I am merely a student on the road to a mastery I will probably never achieve to my satisfaction. So much the better.
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