Saturday, February 17, 2018

Keegan Rice uses art as a tool to connect, assist

March 2, 2016 by Alexis Koome, contributing writer

For local visual artist Keegan Rice, the act of creating is not just a personal pastime; it’s necessary. Few hobbies or interests have established a prominent place in his life, but art has been a constant endeavour.

“I’ve always been into art, but I started really drawing a lot when I was a kid and my parents’ TV broke,” says Rice. “I couldn’t watch cartoons, so I made my own cartoons: I started drawing stories.”

Rice, who was raised in Saskatchewan, says that creating visual art became a top priority during high school. Greatly influenced by continuously vivid dreams, he began using drawing and painting as a distraction from the unhealthy habits his peers were drawn to. Craving a more tangible and lasting release, Rice found solace in the creative process.

“It was the thing that saved me, finding I can express myself while also having a positive impact on the world,” he says. “Later on, I ended up starting an arts collective to try and help other people who’ve had that kind of experience.”

Victoria’s Keegan Rice hard at work on one of his paintings (photo provided).

Victoria’s Keegan Rice hard at work on one of his paintings (photo provided).

The Creative Avenue Collective (CAC) is in its seventh active year, continuing to gain momentum throughout Saskatchewan. While Rice studies at the Victoria College of Art, the CAC team strives to carry inspiration and ingenuity to different Canadian communities and artistic festivals. Still proudly tied to his collective, Rice says Victoria was the obvious choice when settling in one spot for school.

“When travelling, I kept coming back to Victoria because it’s really welcoming and there are a ton of artists,” he says. “Plus, it’s still a city but it’s a good size; it’s not as intense as Vancouver. It’s quiet here; I can focus. But there’s always lots going on, so it’s hard to get bored.”

With an ever-growing collection of original works, Rice says he’s happiest when creating for a cause. Whether it be a live painting event or studio time with the intent to donate, he associates art as a tool not only to achieve connection on a grand scale, but also to reach out and assist in any way possible.

“If art is going to be sold for anything, it should be going to a positive cause,” he says. “I mean, it’s nice to have art for enjoyment, but it’s always better when the money goes toward something that makes a difference.”

This year, a local group called Art for Revolution, who use art as a means to attempt to achieve social change, contacted Rice and asked if he wanted to be involved. Naturally, he agreed. Just remembering how it felt to start collaborating and exploring within a creative community was all it took. Helping a cause that resonated with him personally, six of the nearly two dozen paintings he offered were selected to be featured.

“I’m really, really happy to be involved,” he says. “This year, Art for Revolution is raising money for an art camp to take place on Unist’ot’en territory for indigenous youth. When I was younger, people supported me through youth programs, and one of the first art lessons I ever took was at a youth camp in Regina.”

Rice knows every dime collected will be contributing to something special.

“They’ll end up working on a mural at the camp, which is awesome. When you do that, especially for your first time, you feel like you’re bonded with these people and you’ve all had this creative achievement.”

Rice’s artwork will be on the walls of Cenote Restaurant and Lounge (768 Yates Street) until March 15, along with selected paintings by two other artists involved with Art for Revolution.

Facebook comments; non-Facebook comments below

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...