Other than myself, there is only one artist whose work (thus far) has graced my apartment with its presence on my walls: Nora Keyes. Not only has Nora displayed masterful technique and a myriad of inimitable styles, but she’s actually managed to make her artwork directly functional. Her art is so diverse that trying to explain it as a whole is beyond daunting so I’ve selected 3 pieces that, in their diversity, may still offer some sort of reference toward the elusive core of Nora’s visual art world.
The first piece comes from the album art to The Centimeters’ first album, The Facts of Destiny; the gate through which I was introduced to Nora Keyes’ aural and visual work. There is a hyper-reality in Nora’s illustrations within The Facts of Destiny that I find nightmarish in the same way the Genesis music video for “Land of Confusion” scared me as a kid. These images take something familiar and recreate them with something just skewed or exaggerated enough to render them alien.
Seeing something so alien in something at the same time so familiar can be a really jarring experience. Likewise, there is something in that realism combined with grotesque exaggeration that reminds me of the work (both visual and literary) of Mervyn Peake, possibly best known for the simultaneously comic and grim Gormenghast trilogy. The Facts of Destiny was released in 1999 and I don’t see this style in Nora’s current work but it still feels worth mentioning not only for its statement of Nora’s immense illustration talent and fusion of quirkiness and intensity but also as my introduction to Nora’s art.
A print of the second piece proudly hangs on the wall of my living room and serves as an example of Nora’s directly functional artwork. While it can be argued that any piece of art can serve as a transdimensional portal, Nora’s collage work is designed specifically for meditative purposes, ambitiously and directly addressing the importance of raising consciousness and elevating frequencies. Staring into this piece from 2013, it’s easy to relax and feel yourself transported to higher worlds.
Finally, this 3rd piece is from a recent show I had the good fortune of attending that featured two of Nora’s recent works. I believe this particular painting, The Cosmic Hissing Serpent, is from 2014. An alluring flow moves through much of Nora’s recent painting work, beautifully illustrated in the fiery current of the serpent. There is something warm and lulling in the patterns that calls you into that flow.
Nora does periodic art shows throughout the Los Angeles area and you’re best bet of seeing her breathtaking and frequency-raising work in person is to follow her on Facebook at: