The Art of Jake Keeler

Cradle: Midlife

Cradle: Midlife | 2016 | 8" x 8" | Pen and ink on wood panel
Cradle: Midlife | 2016 | 8″ x 8″ | Pen and ink on wood panel

Finally finished a piece. More news to come. Cheers amigos.


Great River Great Beer update



“What brings the Rahr Corporation, Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), and Fulton Beer together? It’s simple: water. A healthy river is as vital to the success and sustainability of all these organizations as it is to the vast ecosystem that same water supports. It affects you too, whether you’ve got a beer or fly rod in your hand. That’s why we’ve combined forces to bring awareness to the importance of good, clean water, in an attempt to keep this river great for future generations to enjoy. It’s amazing what a pint of beer and a t-shirt can do.”

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Cradle One | 2016 | 8" x 8" | ink and pen on paper

I was messing around with my usual circle motif/composition element, and one way or another, the circle broke up, and suddenly I was working with a half-moon, husk, cradle-type thing.  It stuck. I love it.  I banged out these two pieces rather quickly, and now the “cradle” is showing up in a host of new works.  Always a blast to find something that feels right for the time and mood.

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Simms Necromancer


So, this happened.

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Great River Great Beer

A Summer float down the Mississippi for smallies on Fitz’s drifty.

I spent the bulk of yesterday exploring and fishing the waters of my childhood; The Mississippi River.

The pools and riffles around the Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud area were a bike ride away for me and my brother. We encountered smallies, pike, walleyes, carp, turtles, frogs, crayfish, catfish, and a gazillion different bugs.  I even saw a Muskie come out below the 10th street dam once.

This river is full of life.

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New Works | 5.20.16

Troutz One | 2016 | 11" x 6" | pen and ink on paper
Troutz One | 2016 | 11″ x 6″ | pen and ink on paper

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Happy Cat

Bruno is a happy dude

Kicking off a new body of work means more time in the studio – mostly evenings and a bit of time on the weekends.  Such is the life of an artist making their living doing non-art things.  No matter, Bruno is happy to hang out morning, afternoon, or night.  We’re a couple happy cats.

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The weather is great for trout fishing right now.  That’s swell.  All I can really think about is Bass though; smallmouths & largemouths.  They’re everywhere in MN, and they’re a ton of fun to fish for. I’ve always loved fishing for, and learning about smallmouth, but I’ve always dismissed largemouth; likely a result of the smalljaws superior fighting abilities, and the water they inhabit.  They’re more my style.  But, a bass is a bass right?

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Spring Into Rad

Necromancer: Bringer of Slab | 2016 | 8.5" x 11" | Ink, watercolor and pen on paper
Necromancer: The Bringer of Slab | 2016 | 8.5″ x 11″ | Ink, watercolor and pen on paper


March is here and the temps are climbing.  The morning walks with the pooch don’t require multiple layers…this is nice. I even got out looking for troutz the other day.  Even mild Winters will make one appreciate the little things.

Things are picking up here in MN.  New projects involving Bass and Screaming Hands, and a trip to the Keys is right around the corner.  I’ve tried to ignore the Keys trip as much as possible – not so much the prep, but more so the hype.  I like setting the bar low and being happy with whatever happens.  Just to have the opportunity to run South for a bit, see my parents, brother and other familiar faces is reward in itself.

The fishing won’t hurt.


This is my third time heading down.  Each time brings more familiarity with the water.  For a guy who grew up on freshwater, the ocean can be intimidating.  So much a sea of water. I’m not joking.  Oceans of the stuff. Then the fish.  They strike harder, pull harder and many of them have nasty teeth.  Some cruise in shallow and offer nearly invisible windows of chance, while others swim deep.  I’m happy to just have something connect on the other side of the line and tug.  I’m certainly not at the point of obsessing over my first bone, first permit, first tarpon, etc.  Jacks and barracuda are just fine in my book. I come expecting nothing, and relish in the small things that transpire.

That all said, I tied some clousers, just for the trip.  I figured I would catch some fish with my own flies.  That should up the anti a bit.  I’m bringing my materials and vise as well.  My dad has gotten into fly fishing the last couple years, and he’s eager to chuck feathers and stuffed animal fur at fish this time around. I figure at least one evening we could tie up some flies to restock ammo dumps..should be fun. He’s got a couple 12 weight set ups, and has a good idea where some tarpon may be. Maybe that first tarpon might happen this time down?

I dunno.


The projects and trip aside, I’m working on developing a new body of work.  I’ve settled into using ink washes, watercolors and pens.  I’ve had enough experiences with markers, acrylics and other media to know that they have their place, but that place ain’t where I’m going. I’m looking to use a more subdued color palette, while relying more on the pen work to make things pop. I’m still interested in using wood as a surface, but I’ve reacquainted myself with paper; it’s hard to beat a clean white surface that’s made for drawing.  I’ve also brought back some motifs from years past – patterns, shapes, and general themes that worked 10 years ago.  Turns out they still work in 2016.


Subject matter will consist of more Necromancers, more settings for the subjects (Necros or fish) and of course still some fish on their own.  In all, I’m hoping to create a universe in which these things live.  More context to the entire of body of work, vs. one-offs and oddities.  This will probably mean writing ideas and thoughts down more often…that will be a challenge.  Maybe it will culminate in a show, in a real gallery, with snacks and overpriced beers.  Just kidding on that last part; beers at my show will always be the bomb, and cheap.  11 years in the beer biz has to come with some perks, right?

Anyway, be on the look out for new work this Spring.  Hope you get out soon and chase some finny critters.  It’s gonna be fun amigos!

Horns high,


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