We had the good fortune of connecting with Keri Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Keri, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Honesty and integrity are what I value most. Having the desire to be honest with yourself first and foremost, and then in relation to others and through your work. Being who you truly are in all that you do, and owning it. If we’re being genuine, others will know and sense that – either because they are also, or they’re not and maybe it will encourage them to follow suit. It’s hard and scary to be vulnerable sometimes. Not everyone responds well to it, or maybe not the way you’d hope they would, but do we really want to keep living a lie? What do we get from pretending everything’s ok when it’s not, or from wearing a mask all day (no pun intended :))? Plus, doing the hard and scary stuff is usually where we find the treasure. Being true to all that we are is the place where, if someone loves us even with our wounds, faults, scars and all, we can genuinely feel appreciated and valued. To be “fully known and fully loved,” is a phrase I think a lot of us have heard over the last few years, and yet I don’t know how many of us get to feel it. I hope that we can really all pursue the knowledge of one another and thus choose to still love each other in return. When I comes to my art, it’s my desire that my viewers and collectors can appreciate some sense of reality and heart in my work, and find a connection there that propels them forward.   

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
So I got started as an artist a bit late in life. When I was young, I didn’t really have the discipline to practice as one normally would. I’d dabble here and there, then when I was about 12, I went to visit my grandma in Alabama. She was an artist and musician, and she set everything up for me to paint a beautiful scene of a cabin in some snowy woods with a trail and light. When I finished, we both were a bit surprised that it turned out as well as it did. She really encouraged me that I had the gift, and said I needed to use it daily. I kind of laughed at the thought of that. I wasn’t exactly focused at the time on what I wanted in life other than having a social life.

I ended up working on my craft here and there, and decided to major in fine and performing arts in college. I really only took art classes along with my pre-req’s, then got distracted by a guy and got married when I was 23. I stopped school at the time (I had only taken a smaller load most semesters), and focused on work in business. I never really enjoyed it fully. So when I was 33 I decided to go back to school and finish my degree. I graduated 6 years later from ASU with BA in Art Studies. Sounds awful that it took as long as it did, but I had some health issues that really slowed me down considerably, so it took awhile. I’m rather grateful I did it however, that I really buckled down and got it done.

I’ve been working as a professional artist ever since, and I absolutely love it. I haven’t quite been able to support myself fully through just my art, but hopefully soon. I’m currently taking a business course to help move that along potentially.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I might be awful at this. Ha. Because of what’s going on with me still health-wise, I don’t always get to try out all the new, hip places, so please give me a little break here. ☺️ I’ll do my best!

First things first: coffee. Copper Star Coffee in central Phoenix is my fav these days. It’s a true luxury if I get to go have an oat milk, lavender latte. Yum. Their food is excellent too. So maybe have a late breakfast. Then there’s hiking…. to keep it central, you could go to Piestewa Peak or Camelback. If you’re ok with a drive, I’d highly recommend the Superstitions. Next, we have some rather fun music venues in town. I’m not sure who all’s open or not right now during Covid, but The Crescent Ballroom, The Rebel Lounge, or The Van Buren are great. Or there’s a handful of others as well. All depends on who’s playing. I’d then recommend eating at one of my fav places in town that serves vegan and vegetarian food, drinks, has a coffee bar, and an artistic vibe in an old, historic house in central Phx – The Coronado. Probably also make a stop into the original Postino. The Phoenix Valley is full of all kinds of things to do. There’s something for everyone. And it’s always  changing and growing!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Marshall Kilian is a dear friend I’ve known since 8th grade. We even dated for a bit a handful of years ago, but realized that wasn’t quite right for us, and friendship works much better. We even laughed the other day that we’re more like ex spouses. Just that we’re rather close, but know there’s no going back. Marshall, however, supports me like no other when it comes to my art. He encourages me incessantly, owns more of my work than any other, and has even invested in me financially. That’s not something he would ever promote, and I did get his permission to write about him, as he’s generally rather private. His generosity and support has just meant the world. I wish everyone would have a Marshall in their corner. It helps during the low times, but also all the time. He believes in my dreams even more than I do a lot of the time! So thank you, Marsh. Your friendship means so much.

Instagram: @keribrownart
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keribrown1
Facebook: @keribrownart
Other: email: keribrownart@gmail.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.