Keb Mo (the blues artist) – fan art: by Warren Houston

I created the artwork of Keb Mo, for my partner Kim, who has loved his music for 20 years. The opportunity to take the artwork to the Byron Bay Blues Festival, in the hope that we could get him to sign it, was too good to not make the effort. Packing an artwork and flying it to Australia was a big effort. But it was all worth it in the end.

There is a real theme emerging in the recent Airvolution articles . . . “fan art”. This article is another great story that shows how exciting it can be to create artworks of your hero’s . . . and then get to meet these people in person and they sign your artworks.

This article is about Warren Houston creating an artwork of Keb Mo, the blues artist and the wonderful life experience it created when they got to meet Keb Mo in person and see his reaction to the artwork.

When Keb Mo saw the artwork he said “Is that a painting? I don’t believe it, it looks like a photo!” That is the reaction you want every time you present an artwork to be signed.
When Kim asked him if he would sign it, he was initially reluctant. He said that he didn’t want to damage the artwork. But in the end he was more than happy to.

Warren writes . . .
At the blues festival, people line up to get their favourite artist to sign merchandise and meet them. But when you turn up with something like this artwork, you create a completely different experience (for both parties). It becomes far more personal and special.

I like to think that we left a real impression on Keb Mo, by creating the artwork and presenting it to be signed. This really turned out to be the case when you see his Facebook post, at the bottom of this article.

I started with a 500 x 600mm canvas. I used PPG Deltron to paint the artwork. I flat based the entire canvas in Black and then projected the image and drew it up with a white pencil.
I used a bright silver and a dark silver mix, that I created myself. I created the entire artwork with the dark silver first and then worked back and forth with this silver and black until I was happy. Then I used the bright silver to create the next level of textures and highlight . . . working back and forth with black.

I have created a lot of artworks he years, along these lines. If you look at my website HERE . . . you will see the Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) guitar that I painted and had him sign when he came out to NZ.

The reference is off one of his album covers and was sourced off the internet.

The photo of Keb Mo really captures who he is. He is a lovely man to talk to and this photo really shows that sparkle in his eyes.
When Tony asked me if I was happy with the artwork, my reply was “Hell Yeah!” I didn’t stick to the photo exactly. I wanted it to clearly be a painting. Even Keb commented how much work went into the artwork and how flattered he was to be asked to sign it.

The face was entirely freehand airbrushed, but I used some masking for the sharp shapes around the brim of the hat. For anyone of you that have attempted metallic portraits, you will know how many layers it takes to get the artwork just right.

But in the end, the results are magic. Because the silver is reflective, the artwork almost feels alive . . . it moves as you view it from different angles.

Keb Mo is very big on social network marketing. When he got back to the US, his marketing people posted two photos of him meeting people at the signing, and one of them was of us meeting him. I am sure that it was because of the painting. This just made the whole experience even more meaningful.

Kim lives with this artwork everyday in her home.

Kim and I will never forget this experience. And to a degree, it was all because of the painting. Everyone else that met him, did not get the experience that we created by painting the artwork and bringing it with us to the event. I like to think that my passion and skill with the airbrush makes a real difference to the life of my friends, family and clients.

Thank you Warren for taking the time to send through all the photos and being interviewed for this article.

Warren has done a series of 10 Day Courses with Airbrush Venturi in Auckland. If you live in NZ and are serious about learning to airbrush, about learning a proper system, the 10 Day Courses will be exactly what you are looking for.

If you would like more information about the Auckland and Christchurch courses, go to the Airbrush Venturi course timetable, HERE.

If you have questions please text Tony Vowles on +61-418-324-530 or email him HERE.

Written by Tony Vowles