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Keith Chew

Biography - Keith Chew

Keith Chew immigrated to the United States in 1968 from Norway, where he was employed as a ski instructor, to teach and eventually run a ski school in the Mid West. Originally from the “East End” of London, England, Keith was one of five children of an English mother and a Chinese father. After his mother was widowed, he left home at age fifteen to seek his fortune in the world.


Passing through many years and many countries and careers, Keith eventually landed in Colorado in 1974 to begin a journey in the creative arts that has led him now to produce fine art in various metals. Each piece he creates is totally unique, with no reproductions, and is highly collectible.





METAL ART TECHNIQUES


With over 25 years experience in producing various types of metal art in Colorado, Keith has developed numerous techniques for designing, fabricating and producing incredible designs and patinas in metal. Over these years, following hundreds of commissions, Keith has refined his work with patinas into an art form.


Although several metals are used in his works, copper produces by far the most interesting patinas and color schemes when it is “sprayed” with various chemicals (for example ammonia, which produces deep blue areas of color). In the first stage of his process, Keith lays out panels of metal which are usually 3’ x 10’, and applies chemicals to bring the surface to life with colors and patterns. This technique is called “cold patination (vs. the “hot patinas” which are applied to bronze sculpture using propane torches). The panels are then wrapped in plastic to etch, or as Keith says, to “marinate.”


After a period of weeks the panels are unwrapped, neutralized with baking soda, washed and lacquered. They are then ready for fabrication. The panels with the most interesting patterns stand well alone. In another type of design, shaped panels are layered to create landscapes – each piece carefully chosen and inscribed with texturing or shading to add dimension to the total work.


All frames are handmade with unique finishes and textures. This final bit of faux finish artistry is the work of Keith’s wife Nancy.