Meet Rebecca Keating
About the Artist
Rebecca Keating grew up in Adrian, Missouri on a rustic farmstead. Her parents met and fell in love at an auto parts store and as a result she became ingrained in the Midwestern car culture. During her high school years her Aunt offered her a half-working Volkswagen Rabbit diesel pickup with the words, “If you can make it run, you can have it!” This gesture sparked a long line of mechanical love affairs.
Her time living abroad gave Keating perspective on the subtle similarities and differences of everyday life across cultures. While good ‘ole boys gathered around a truck guzzling Busch Light out of aluminum cans back in Missouri, Keating sat with liberal arts students sipping mate from hollowed out gourds in Argentina, and congregated in Bavaria with engineers chugging stout beer from glass steins. The substances and objects were different, but the connection and human experience was the same. It is with this learned perspective that Keating distinguishes and captures the nuances of rural American life.
Rebecca Keating’s work is known for its vibrant colors and the humorous anecdotes in each piece. She celebrates - and critiques - the rural American Midwest in her playful pop art style. Her still life artworks are embedded with symbolism and represent the archetypes of today’s blue collar Americana.
The Inspiration Behind the General Maintenance Collection
Rebecca Keating often finds creative inspiration in the juxtaposition of everyday objects found together. Bouquets and torque wrenches discovered on her mother’s kitchen table turn into beautiful motifs on throw pillows as they go through the artist’s creative lens. Keating strives to celebrate the nuanced and unnoticed, creating value from and immortalizing forever the culture of her community.
“After performing some general maintenance on my car, I set out to return the torque wrench I had borrowed from my mother. At the time, my mother worked as a paralegal for a local lawyer whom I regularly reached out to for legal advice. This lawyer has never let me pay for her services, but instead insists that I repay her generosity by surprising my mother with favors and gifts. I, of course, gleefully oblige.
During my quest to return the borrowed tool, I stopped off at a local florist’s shop whom I had befriended several months prior. Gazing at the fresh flowers she had available, I described to her the different colors I wanted in the bouquet, mentioning it was a surprise for my mother. When attempting to pay, she waved me off recalling the logo design I had recently done for her pro bono. I accepted this exchange and thanked her for the flowers as I left for my mother’s house.
I greeted my mother at the door, surprised her with the flowers and the wrench I had borrowed, and placed them both on her kitchen table. As I saw the wrench and flowers lying there intertwined it struck me how you don’t typically see tools and a bouquet of flowers together, yet it made such a meaningful pair. It made me reflect on the varied role my mother had in our domestic life. She was a successful paralegal, a competent mechanic, and a caring mother. A beautiful woman with a utilitarian ‘can-do’ approach to life. The tools and the flowers together completely encompassed the midwestern femininity my mother embodied, full of beauty and utility. A formidable blend of empowered traditional feminine and masculine qualities.
The bouquet also made me reflect on the intricate web of women repaying one another with favors in this modern world; plying their professional skills, knowledge, tools, and generosity to help each other out. I felt so blessed to be a woman in the 21st century at that moment. I snapped a photo - knowing I’d use it later for artistic inspiration. When I received the opportunity to design a throw pillow collection, my first thought was of how domestic and feminine throw pillows can seem as an object. The scene of the torque wrench and the flowers on my mother’s kitchen table, and the story behind the image, perfectly illustrates the idea of modern domestic femininity I wanted to express. It’s with these memories and emotions that I constructed and designed the General Maintenance collection. This collection of pillows explores these traditionally masculine and feminine elements playfully woven together and celebrates the acts of general maintenance we perform for ourselves and others.” - Rebecca Keating
Designed exclusively for Citra Studio, you can shop the General Maintenance pillow collection here. To learn more about Rebecca Keating and her work, you can visit her website at rebeccathebadass.com.