Hometown Artist Has Heart, Soul in Exhibit; Keith Doles Is a Native of the Northside, Where He Still Lives

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Byline: HEATHER LOVEJOY

It's like his fingerprint. Or maybe his handwriting.

However he describes his artwork, it's obvious Keith Doles invests his heart and soul in his creations. He's spent years developing his craft, earning several college art degrees.

Doles, 30, is a native of the Northside, where he still lives.

His fifth solo exhibit, "Graphic Art and Paintings Too," will go up this week at Florida Community College at Jacksonville's North Campus gallery. The show features graphic art he has created for clients and pencil sketches.

His colorful paintings take cues from expressionism and cubism and are for sale, averaging in price from $200 to $600.

My Northside Sun spoke with Doles on Monday about his creative process and the arts scene in Jacksonville:

How do you come up with ideas for your paintings?

Most of my artwork is a reflection of what I see in everyday life. They're usually based on photographs of my family and when I travel. A lot of it is memories and things from childhood.

Before you start a piece, do you have an image in your mind of what it will look like?

It evolves. I start with a doodle. ... I paint the canvas black and it really evolves after I add color to it. I bring the colors out of the darkness.

Do you work best in the morning, daytime or night?

I guess afternoons are best.

So you're not a night owl?

I'm trying to wean myself off of that. When I first started, I used to stay up until 2 [a.m.] or so to get ready for shows. Now I stay up until about 12 [midnight].

How many hours a week do you spend on your art?

I would say probably no more than 40, with the painting alone. If I add graphics, I would say somewhere around 70.

What artists do you look to for inspiration?

[Harlem Renaissance painter] Jacob Lawrence was one I studied. He used flat shapes and color, focusing mostly on history and trying to build narratives from there. I wanted to do what he was doing, but with [my paintings], they're more personal in nature. ...

What does it feel like to sell a piece, to know it will be displayed in someone's home?

It's like saying goodbye to a friend or like putting an animal up for adoption and hoping it goes to a good home. …