Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” In the case of Middle Eastern street artist known simply as Keizer, he’s proven to not only have transcended the difficulty of remaining a creative virtuoso as an adult, he’s also been a leading figure that has changed the landscape of what is considered art within our modern society.
Historically, art as a form has been relegated for the upper echelons of the population-a medium to be studied and crafted by those formally educated and then housed and cased within galleries and museums that often aren’t frequented by those without the financial means to do so. Street art, or graffiti, is tipping the art world off of its’ axis by emerging global street artists such as Keizer, Banksy and Ganzeer, whose works have helped to deliver not only art, but also awareness, cultural appreciation and critical recognition to the masses.
Keizer included, many of these artistic change-makers choose to present their art under a pseudonym, due to the nature of their work. Graffiti has previously been viewed as vandalism and a crime; a visual expression for those considered to be uneducated or unsophisticated. In the worst case scenarios, it can also prove dangerous, as creatives such as Keizer also employ their art to assist in achieving social change by challenging the status quo of society.
Keizer strives to meld all-encompassing societal issues within his uniquely identifiable street art, encouraging all that are able to view it to define what the work means to themselves personally. He stated, “Generally speaking, my street art has coded and embedded metaphors and symbols that trigger associations with the people in connection with existing stereotypes, values, categories, and sensations, etc. At the same time, street art can modify and reshape the existing narratives. The interpretations of existing symbols are not uniform, but negotiable.”
While even a mere decade ago, it would have been difficult to imagine graffiti being a prized-possession within the cultured universe of art, now Keizer finds himself a world-renowned artist, with his works being sought out by not only those who live among the streets that he helps to illuminate, but also by famous actors and actresses, as well as members of royalty. Art shows where his brilliant work is displayed rarely leave even a single piece of his creations unsold.
Through his open mindset, Keizer has helped to achieve what many would have thought impossible: rather than visiting a gallery or museum to view the most critically acclaimed art within a time period, one can simply walk out into the streets and behold the symbolism and expressionism that is of the utmost importance and artistic relevance today.
The acclaimed Apple, Inc. advertising campaign “Think Different” indeed seems highly applicable to what Keizer has accomplished thus far, as it famously stated, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”