ARTIST PROFILE - SALLY BAKER KELLER
Ive always said that creating art is not as much a choice as it is a joyful addiction. It certainly
has been a great joy to me since my early childhood. Growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, I took the usual art classes in high school, and eventually decided to pursue a Fine Arts Major at the University of Denver. In later years, I attended figure drawing and portrait classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and also at the Evanston Art Center. Throughout my career, Ive continued to attend a wide variety of art classes and workshops, honing my drawing and painting skills.
My primary focus has always been portraiture, a passion that stems from my deep appreciation of the unique qualities and dignity of each individual. I continually strive to capture the essence of these personal characteristics in my paintings. Since I have years of experience working in many diverse mediums, including Pastel, Oil, Colored Pencil, Charcoal and Graphite, I can help my clients select the ideal medium for their special one-of-a kind portrait keepsakes. I will work from existing photos if necessary, but I prefer to take my own photos and to personally meet the actual subject, whenever possible.
I've been fortunate to have a wide variety of fascinating projects during my art career. My assignments have ranged from complex family portraits, including children and pets, to challenging corporate commissions for clients such as Baxter Healthcare International, Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Womens Hospital, United Airlines and Western Union.
One of my most memorable projects was in July 2002, when United Airlines commissioned me
to create 18 individual graphite portraits of the UAL employees who were tragically lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I had less than 6 weeks to complete the project, and the time pressure and emotional intensity of the subject matter affected me profoundly. These people, whom I had never met, became such an important part of my life during that time, that
I even began to dream about them. When I completed the commission, I felt compelled to sit down and write out the names of everyone that I had drawn--I didnt want to forget them. On September 11th of each year since then, I still write that list. The drawings were part of a memorial tribute which was on display during September 2002 at Uniteds world headquarters
in Elk Grove Township. Following the exhibit, United presented the portraits to the victims families. I hope that my heartfelt artistic efforts brought some measure of comfort to them.