[dropcap size=big]J[/dropcap]ohn Lee, aka Keebs' recent drawing of a man in a bar in Koreatown (see below) captured our attention and that of Reddit, where it was the #1 story on /r/losangeles for at least a day. Further exploration of this young artist shows a variety of projects and styles, from commercial work, to hip hop portraits, to a food truck rolling in San Diego. His life in Koreatown is a new focus of his art, and one we hope to see more of. We caught up with Keebs to discuss tacos, K-town, and art.
What's your favorite taco?
Mariela's on 3rd and Kenmore.
What keeps you in Los Angeles?
Variety. That applies to food, culture, the people, events, etc. Plus, the art/creative scene is awesome and the public transportation is convenient. Everything here inspires and motivates me. It's a good place to grow as an artist.
How does Koreatown influence your art?
I've recently begun working more on my personal art as opposed to client work and I'm finding myself mostly drawing the things I see around me. Also, just knowing the history and seeing how Koreatown survived through the riots and is now home to a ton of influential homegrown talent is something to be very proud of as a fellow Korean. There is a lot of beauty here and over time I hope to show that beauty to the outside world.
What's your favorite bar in K-Town?
Five years ago, my answer would have been Toe Bang. Nowadays, I stick with beer so mostly places like Beer Belly, Southland, etc.
Your hip hop heads project was awesome-- who's your favorite all-time MC? And who was the most fun to draw?
Thank you! My favorite emcee of all time is definitely Andre 3000. I think Tyler the Creator was the most fun to draw.
What was it like to work on graphics for a food truck? What's your personal favorite truck in LA?
The process was a pretty standard vector job. But working on a food truck and applying my art to that canvas was a new experience and I loved working on it. My personal favorite truck out here is the El Flamin' on Vermont because...that's the closest one from my apartment. Haha.
Do you have a lucky number?
No, I don't have a lucky anything. Haha.
Have you ever drawn a taco?
I don't believe I have. But I drew one for L.A. Taco!
Holy shit! Thank You! If you could design your own theme park, what would it be like?
Surreal. Cute, but freaky characters. Freefall drops. These are the things that come to mind. Think Salvador Dalí meets Hayao Miyazaki.
Got any shoutouts?
Everyone who has shown love and been supportive throughout the years including family, friends, clients, and random people on the internet. I'm working more on my personal art nowadays and will be showing more of it very soon.
You can get more KEEBS at KEEBS.COM (where else?)