Artist Collaboration: Jake Keeler

Who is Jake Keeler?
A dude from Minnesota who found fishing and drawing as a kid and never looked back.

When did you first start drawing?
Hard to say, but my guess is that as soon as I was able to grasp a mark-making tool I was scribbling something!  My mother is an artist, as was her father.  Her two sisters are also artists, and so is my brother.  It runs in the family…it’s in our DNA.  I was brought up learning how to make things with my hands, my will and my imagination.  My father has played a big role in this as well

When did you first start fishing? What was your first fish on the fly?
I probably started fishing as soon as I took a break from scribbling…

My dad introduced my brother and I to fishing very early on.  I still fish my dad as much as I can.  Fishing, hunting and being outside was also something we were brought up to do, believe in, and not take for granted.

About 11 or 12 years ago two good buddies of mine switched me off spinning gear and onto fly fishing; I’ve been obsessed with it ever since; it all started with a brown trout from the Rush River in WI, on a sulphur dry.

Do you see any parallels between art and fly fishing?
They are one and the same to me – my approach, thought process, highs, lows and ultimate engagement with both intertwine in a way that makes delineating between the two things almost impossible for me.

What is your favorite fish and why?
Smallmouth bass, hands down.  MN native, fierce fighters, rugged beauty, and a symbol of the places I love.  Cannot say enough about that fish. They rule.

Favorite style of art?
Can’t pick one…but if I could only own art by one artist, it would be something from Franz Kline.  The art I really like tends to be work in a vein that I don’t make myself.  I’m a sucker for really good abstraction and gestural paintings…especially big ones.

If you were stranded on an island and had only one rod and one fly what would they be?
A fast 8 weight and a white clouser with some red flash…or maybe an olive and black wooly bugger.  Tough choice.

Tell me a little bit about why you donate so much of your art profits to non-profits.
I think like a lot of people out there over the last 12 months or so, I was struck by a realization that I could and should do more concerning issues that I care about. My wife and I asked each other what we could collectively do, and perhaps more importantly what we could each do individually to take action.  My wife already did a good deal and continues to tackle social issues, but for me it was realizing that I can could do much more in the arena of the environment, conservation and clean water – I can become a voice, and exert my will to help create change. We see it as a balanced approach to individual activism; we’re still getting our feet wet, conscious of the fact that one can get burnt out, frustrated or disillusioned so you’ve got to be practical about what actions you take, and how you set yourself up for a long term commitment.

That translated to making a commitment on my end to donate at least 30% of the revenue I make from my art to organizations fighting the good fight on the side of the environment and clean water.  I’ve also donated some work and hours pro-bono to organizations as an artist, and donated 100% of my sales in February of 2017 with my #get20give100 – that totaled to just over $3000 raised and donated.

I feel the monetary actions are just the beginning; I can do more, and I will do more.

Tell me a little bit about the Flylords Smallmouth design.
Well, like I said…I love smallies. For the last year, I had a simple idea of translating the vertical bar patterns into letters at some point for a design. I thought it would likely be a t-shirt graphic at some point so when the Flylords opportunity came up it fit the bill and away I went.

Do you have a favorite piece of art or project you can highlight?
The projects like my #get20give100 campaignGreat Water Great Beer, and Simms S.O.S. project are all up there – the mixing of my efforts as an artist and voice for clean water/environment.  I like how my art can act as a catalyst.

Favorite drink?
A good espresso

Favorite movie?
Dune (Lynch’s OG version…not that SYFY channel bullshit)

What’s next?
Raise more money. Keep collaborating. Make bigger and radder work. Take shit to another level.

Shop Our Collaboration T Shirts: (Click the Images below to be redirected) 20% of proceeds will benefit Pebble Mine Initiatives

You can find more of Jakes work on his Instagram:@jakekeeler

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