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Chopping Block: Jeremiah Ketner

This week, we spent a few minutes with Jeremiah Ketner, whose whimsical figures you may recognize from your favorite Disney film, past or present.  We chatted about his art, creating custom figures and his upcoming exhibit at DesignerCon 2014 in Pasadena, CA.  Not to mention this Friday Jeremiah will release his first limited edition signed and number print on wood with us!  We are beyond excited and think you will be too!  More details coming soon!

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Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 1.25.27 PM

POW: The use of color in your art is astounding. What are your go to mediums for creating such colorful pieces?

Jeremiah: I learned early on about color theory and have always tried to push my palette beyond my comfort zone. My favorite medium is acrylic. Although I was classically trained using oils at the age of twelve. I would say it’s a medium I come back too every so often but Acrylics are my go-to medium.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 1.31.35 PMAdourer by Jeremiah Ketner 

POW: Your characters range from owls, to delicate girls and imagined creatures alike. Is there something particular that attracts you to these characters?

Jeremiah: I like the idea of all these characters coexisting in a imagined world together. I try not to set boundaries and paint what comes to mind. I think it’s important to keep myself challenged and introduce new characters often. I feel like it’a a long term project describing a collection of fables.

POW: Besides your paintings, you also create some very impressive custom toys. How do you design such detailed pieces? What is the creative process like in comparison to a painting?

Jeremiah: The way in which I approach designing my customs is drastically different to how I plan for a new painting. I sketch directly on the toy and don’t plan out the colors until I start painting. I would say there’s more freedom when painting customs. I let the the sculpt dictate the overall feel of the design. With my paintings everything is planned out with a sketch. The only thing I don’t plan is the color scheme.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 1.32.39 PMNight Owl by Jeremiah Ketner

POW: You state in your bio that you were heavily influenced by the Japanese approach to “small and round” design. To this day, do you still apply those same practices to your art?

Jeremiah: I like that term “small and round” design. It’s a made up term I used to describe some of the Japanese aesthetics I discovered on my travels to Japan. I would say I subconsciously practice those design principles on a daily basis.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 9.34.57 PMFloating Tree by Jeremiah Ketner

POW: Your collections of pieces for Disney are beyond magnificent. How did that collaboration with Disney come about and how was it working with them from an artistic approach?

Jeremiah: It’s a really cool collaboration and I’m thrilled every time they ask me to create new pieces for them. A great deal of Disney’s films are based on classic fairy tales so it’s a great match for me. I was invited by the curator of Wonderground Gallery in Downtown Disneyland, California to create paintings based off a list of their properties. The first piece I made for them was Beauty and the Beast. Since then I have created over 10 paintings for Wonderground Galley and they continue to show my work and sell merchandize of my designs exclusively through the gallery.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 9.41.10 PMWishing Tree by Jeremiah Ketner

POW: Designer Con in Pasadena is quickly approaching, will you have a booth there again?  What can we expect to see at your booth?

Jeremiah: This year I will have my own booth and I’m really excited about it. I’m planning on having a selection of new prints, custom toys and a bunch of new merchandise. There will be a few surprises that I will introduce at Dcon too.

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For more information on Jeremiah Ketner, please visit: http://jeremiahketner.com/