Art for the Moment
Steve Keene Churns out 100 Paintings a Day

Steve Keene interview Listen as Scott Simon talks with Steve Keene

photo gallery View a gallery of Keene's paintings, and Keene painting.

Jan. 12, 2002 -- For painter Steve Keene, there are three essential considerations for assessing art: Volume! Volume! Volume!

Oliver Sacks
A depiction of the group Blondie, by Steve Keene.

In this, he has something in common with "instant artist" Morris Katz, and Thomas Kinkade, a painter whose mainstream appeal is now being cross-franchised into home furnishings and even housing developments.

But for Keene, the idea of painting in volume seems more elemental. At least half-a-dozen times during his interview with Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday, he referred to his work as a "game," or, perhaps more accurately, a "sport."

In his studio, he lines up panels of cheap plywood and paints about 100 of each "design," one after the other, every day. He's less concerned with the art itself than he is with how closely he can get each painting to match. He sells each piece for between $1 and $12.

"Art for the moment" he calls it.

Other Resources

•On Keene's Web site when you click the "buy" button, you get "a random selection from the group of images Steve is working on that day."

•Thomas Kinkade's giant and ever-growing body of work has been criticized as treacly and insipid, but he may be the most popular contemporary artist in the United States. Judge for yourself.

•Finally, check out the "instant art" of Morris Katz.