Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Mythic, Magical and Endearing Art of Andy Kehoe

All Turns to Brilliance - Andy Kehoe
Artwork made before the world ends. Paintings also double as radiation protection for the nuclear winter and some can be eaten like beef jerky.
Onward Again My Friend by Andy Kehoe
Roamer of Reverie by Andy Kehoe
This is the introduction to Andy Kehoe's work for 2012 on his website.

For 2011 it was this:
Paintings best enjoyed with smile on face and bourbon in non-mouse hand. When possible, fill room with the smell of burnt gun powder and bacon. At least four gas lanterns recommended for lighting. Legs can either be crossed or uncrossed. Remove Shoes.Thank you.Management 
Affinity to Unfamiliar Worlds by Andy Kehoe

With such introductions to his art, along with a blog titled: Tall Tales of Depravity - The place to be for Kehoe matters and whisky fist fights, it's clear this Pittsburgh artist doesn't take himself too seriously (we approve!), despite that his work is beautiful, mythic, simply stunning and yes endearing (or should that be en-deer-ing?). I think the title of the work at the head of the post says it well: "All Turns To Brilliance".
Together at the Threshold by Andy Kehoe (created 2012 for his fiancé)

It does seem that there is something very special about Mr. Kehoe's work. Even in his earlier pieces you can see a particular style and sensibility that suggests we live with fantasy, if only we had the eyes to see it (as he apparently does).  In 2011 that sensibility blossomed even further with a richness in colors and what seemed to be additional dimensional depth in his paintings.
A Fading Farewell by Andy Kehoe

I've noticed certain trends on Pinterest among fans of fairy tales and one of those are men, women, children, creatures and other beings with antlers. Fairy tale images of woodland beings with horns and antlers of various sizes populate fairy tale themed boards consistently, as do forest with sentient looking deer. I don't think this is coincidence.

On the Banks of Broken Worlds by Andy Kehoe

There is something royal yet wild, gentle yet dangerous, commanding yet connected, natural yet "other" about deer. Fawns, doe, stags, hinds with antlers, golden-antlers, white harts, brother deer and horned gods as well as those of the Wild Hunt and all their half-breed fae brethren easily capture our attention in fairy tales and often appear in fairy tale illustrations, even when there is no specific reference to one in the corresponding text. A stag doesn't need to transform into a man to have a sense of magic, he carries it with him.

In Marie-Luise von Franz's book, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales she discusses the primal reaction we have to the image of deer in tales and the importance of the majestic stags being able to shed their antler crowns, so as to grow new horns. She says: "The shedding of the antlers is probably the natural basis for all the mythological transformation attributes of the deer. In medieval medicine, the bone in the heart of the deer was thought to be beneficial for heart trouble."

A Moment of Respite by Andy Kehoe

Here's a larger quote from the same chapter, Shadow, Anima and Animus:

Whether or not it was his intention, these aspects - both the fascination and the dread - are definitely communicated in Mr. Kehoe's work.

When I see so many people across the web and in Pinterest - especially those who have an interest in myth and fairy tale - gathering images of deer and antlered beings it's clear this sense of wonder with such is just as strong today as it ever was. In fact there are so many comments, from very different people and many different backgrounds, that say the same thing: "I wish I had a pair of antlers!"*
Grief and Glory by Andy Kehoe

The antlered and horned creatures in Mr. Kehoe's work bring a sense of connecting us personally to something of Wonder. I don't know how he captures it but the blend of wild and familiar, of both the playful and the melancholy, of a personal magic and at the same time a vast world of wonder; all these qualities pervade his paintings.
Under the Gaze of the Glorious by Andy Kehoe
I'm glad he's sharing the pictures in his mind. Some of them look familiar, but only because I'm sure I've seen some of these beings in my dreams.
Lord of Ghouls - Arise Feral Night, Roq La Rue by Andy Kehoe

Go, enjoy, support and tell him "More, more! The end of the world gets closer every day!" ;)

Andy Kehoe's website and portfolio are HERE, his blog is HERE, he's on Twitter HERE and he also has an Etsy store HERE, where you can purchase a little magic to keep for yourself (and perhaps help fund one of his numerous wedding ideas such as having "a small rowboat full of explosives and fireworks floating in the middle of the pond to be ignited with a fiery arrow the moment we both say, "I do." I have zero clues as to why that idea was shot down... ;)

*One very interesting image collection doing the rounds on Pinterest shows a wedding party taking fun photos as they're holding antlers to their heads. Despite the fun, there is something that elicits an "Ooh!" or "Awesome!" response from so many people, including, I must admit, myself. Perhaps it's just that, for all it's simplicity it's still rather Wonder-ful.


  1. Gorgeous--reminds me a lot of Kathleen Lolley's work.

  2. Hey Gypsy, I've just wandered onto your blog from pinterest... I love this article, especially what you've written about the magical qualities of deer. They are like living trees in a way. Andy Kehoe's been a favourite of mine for some time, but there are some works here I haven't seen before, thanks so much x

  3. @somethingtoreadforthetrain Me too - in fact the first time I saw his work I actually mistook it for hers (I recommend readers check her out).

    @Something Horse Hi! Thanks for hopping across to take a look. Hopefully posting will more regular again soon too so there'll be more to discover and enjoy. :)