Jamil Keyani began painting hesitantly in secondary school under the encouragement of his Mother, and guidance of art instructor Rob Neil. At 14 years of age he realized the arts and design would be his trade, and pursued this calling with a combination of diligent passion and abject delinquency. He received a District Arts Scholarship, began selling work early, and found freelance design to be an agreeable path.
In 2004 Keyani moved west, and after working as a graphic designer and sign maker, entered into apprenticeship under Ghanaian artist Osei Narh. Keyani worked alongside Narh to re-establish Blacspot Studio/Gallery in New Westminster, and for more than 3 years studied fundamentals of painting, interior design, sculpture, stone masonry, carpentry, and construction. Polish artist Stefan Kotter was also heavily influential on Keyani during this time, sharing techniques in interior texture and graphic design principals. He studied fashion design briefly in 2008 at the Art Institute of Vancouver.
In early 2011 years of substance abuse, depression, and fear brought Keyani to his knees and robbed him of the ability to draw or paint. Turning to others for help brought healing, and the process of painting returned as a instrument of recovery. Art became less about taking, and more about contributing. Artist Carl Baird brought Keyani into the Vancouver live painting community and his own studio, and by collaboration and instruction, opened his eyes to the value of traditional techniques. Keyani won Art Battle 30 and competed in the 2012 Art Battle Vancouver Final. The intensity of competitive painting, and the support of the live painting community, began to draw out a style, and confidence, that had been lost.
Keyani works in many mediums, on any platform, from digital illustration to sculpted walls. As a designer his strength is interpreting the vision of the client, and as an artist he is in search of some honesty about himself, and the world he is a part of. Art has, and continues to be, a wellspring of healing, a venue for challenge, and a bearer of community for Keyani. In its better moments, his work can reflect this articulately.