Monday, November 29, 2021

Asia in the Heart of Claire Keery’s Art

Photo by Maria Lamb
| Claire Keery holding a Geisha creation with her dog Mollie, surrounded by her Asian collectibles and the presence of Buddha behind her.


Local artist Claire Keery was recently recognized by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts (MIFA) for her service and dedication supporting the arts on Marco Island. Claire has been a member of MIFA since its inception in 2003. 

Claire grew up in Zurich, Switzerland and traveled extensively, but now makes Marco her home along with her husband, Jack, and their dog, Mollie, a Maltipoo (Maltese poodle mix). Claire is an award-winning artist specializing in collages, assemblage, and encaustics.

Photo by Jack Keery
| Claire Keery playing with an elephant in Phuket Thailand during one of her earlier visits. The elephant is a religious symbol in Thailand and is also a symbol of Buddhism and the Lord Buddha. Today, visitors are no longer allowed to play, feed, bathe the elephants from the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Assemblages and collages are art forms that make use of different materials. They can include wood, paper, wire, cloth, or other items that fit with the design and vision of the artist.

Encaustic painting is a mix media that involves heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added and fused. Encaustic is a Greek word meaning “to burn in”. Encaustic artwork is typically comprised of several layers of thin wax applied to wooden panels and layered in to create a more translucent or soft effect. 

For Claire, the real magic is letting her style flow through those layers of wax; it can be abstract or realistic, bold, or subtle. Claire considers her art very unusual –she has her own style and does whatever comes from her own vision and affirms “people will know exactly that it was made by me.”

Since Commodore Matthew Perry opened Japan to the world in 1853 and 1854, American artists and collectors became exposed to, and have been fascinated by, East Asia. Without ever visiting Asia, artists began integrating Asian themes, motif, and expressions in their artwork. 

Much of Claire’s art is inspired by Asian philosophies, nature, spirituality and cultural symbolism. She masterfully incorporates both the traditional and out-of-this-world aspect of Asian symbols, religion, gods, and goddesses.

Asia is a recurring theme in Claire’s art creation and personal collection, an influence from Claire’s travels to Asia. A visit to Claire’s home is an intercultural experience, giving guests a wonderful appreciation and understanding of Asian art and collectibles mixing well with Marco’s modern coastal contemporary interior.


Photos by Claire Keery
| Buddha – means Enlightenment.


Her mailbox sits on the head of a mythical Imperial Chinese dragon – a symbol of power, strength and good luck. And dragons of various configurations are part of the interior décor.

The front door is guarded by a large menacing ceramic green Foo (Fu) Dog. In Chinese Asian countries, this is known as the Guardian Lion, a symbol of protection and power. Foo dogs of various sizes are also strategically placed indoors to make sure the residents are well protected.

Photo by Maria Lamb
| White wedding kimono with a flock of flying cranes (symbol for longevity). This kimono is meant to be worn on top of another kimono, not meant to be tied with an obi but draped open—mostly for ceremonial picture taking. Claire liked this and bought it mainly for its amazing display quality

As you enter the house you are greeted by the presence of Claire’s Buddha collection in various sizes, styles, and origin. Buddha represents “enlightenment”. In the Eastern culture, Buddha is not an idol or a form of worship. People who are struggling with their daily journey will often gaze upon Buddha for inspiration or encouragement. 

Koi fish, geishas and Buddhas are well represented in Claire’s art creations. The Koi is a symbol of good fortune, and it is believed Koi can help draw positive energies to you and your family.

Geishas are world-famous as symbols of Japanese culture and history. With their painted kimonos, intricate hairstyle and striking makeup, geisha represent the beauty and elegance of Japan. Many people visit Japan with the hope of partaking in a geisha tea ceremony. 

While growing up in Zurich, Claire never imagined Asian art would become a big part of her life. She wanted to become an artist but her parents, being very old-fashioned and practical, sent her to finishing school to learn how to cook, sew, bake, and manage a household.

During her travels to Asia, Claire remembered speaking with the monks at a temple in Thailand and was amazed at their serene look of contentment. She said she was hooked!

According to Claire, “I would like to stir something in people who look at my art. I know they don’t always see what I see, but that’s alright. I want them to use their own imagination.”



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