Last week I was invited to the studio of multi-media artist Billy Kheel. Billy is a artist who uses needle, thread and felt as his medium of choice to create works of art dedicated to the city of Los Angeles. He has been working on a series of work for an upcoming show in Colorado at Black Book Gallery titled “Skyhigh”.
In his studio I was able to see some of the creative process and works of art created in the 6 years he has been working in this medium. Here is a quick Q&A with Billy Kheel about his work, his upcoming show at Black Book Gallery.
How would you describe your artwork to our L.A. TACO readers?
Rick Ross meets Betsy Ross.
How long have you been doing this style of work?
I started working with fabric about 6 years ago. I started using felt because I was inspired by sports memorabilia from growing up, stuff like felted varsity jackets and sports pennants. I wanted to use the fabric like a painter uses paint.
Can you describe the latest show?
I have a solo show at the Blackbook Gallery in Denver that opens February 13th. The show is felt appliqué paintings of athletes that smoke marijuana. I wanted to do the show in Denver because its a huge sports city (Superbowl!) where marijuana is legal. The Blackbook Gallery is really committed to letting artists be free to pursue their creative vision, so I’m excited to do the show there.
What is the most challenging aspect of you work?
I’m using a process, appliqué , to make pieces which are usually made with paint and a brush. So there was some initial challenges in bending the appliqué process to do what I wanted to do with it. Now that I’ve solved some of those problems, its more a matter of freaking out halfway through that its not working.
Do you have any plans to show here in Los Angeles in 2016?
I’m in a group show called Stitch Fetish that opens downtown at the Hive Gallery on February 6th. Beyond that I’m working on a show about the Dodgers that I want to open during the season. I’ll let you know when I’ve got more specifics on that one.
Give Billy Kheel a follow on Instagram @bkheel to see more of his process. Also if your interested in purchasing one of his products check out his Etsy store. I highly suggest you check out his website, www.bkheel.com to see more of his works and proejcts.