Dani O’Keefe

Dani O’Keefe

[BFA] Drawing

[BFA] Painting

I used to eat a lot of fruit when I was younger – I was strangely unphased by their acidity. Bowls of frozen berries were especially a comfort food and I’d eat them till my mouth and fingers turned purple. My mom used to tell people I was her “little bear”.

Most of the fruits I paint are not actually botanical berries. Strawberries, cherries, and raspberries are only “berries” in the culinary sense. As an example, cherries are actually stone fruits, because they carry inedible pits in their centers. They are more closely related to peaches and plums. A banana, however, grows from one ovary and has many seeds inside of it. It’s a berry! Albeit a silly looking one.

I originally started painting berries using a duo-chromatic palette of red and blue. I used that dichotomy and the creation of different purples as a way of playing with gender identity and sexuality. Although the work isn’t exclusively about this, it is deeply embedded in my symbolism. I’m very interested in the emotions each fruit evokes and how those change next to another fruit, in a different lighting, space, etc. Berries are often associated with the bite size and shareable, the romantic and intimate, and I enjoy getting my hands dirty exploring those ideas.