As far back as he can remember, Dillon O’Keefe has been drawing, originally inspired by childhood cartoons.
A New York native, Dillon studies illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Like most students, he’s struggled financially, but that hasn’t slowed his creativity. Spending most of his money on food and subway fare, Dillon has been fortunate to make ends meet through side jobs. “I don’t wake up wanting to do somebody’s logo, but you do it, because somebody’s paying you for a talent or technique you’ve honed and refined. You have to trust yourself.” It’s that confidence that allows him to still express himself creatively, meeting his own standards on all freelance work.
New York’s influence has taken its hold. “New York is a great city. It’s the things you see every day that inspire you. I can’t take experiences from a life I’m not living.” From the bustle of the city to the hard work and purpose visible on people’s faces, the past and present isn’t lost on Dillon. “It’s hard not to be inspired by New York artists, because they obviously went through the same thing you did.”
For his newest mural at the corner of Bogart and Thames in Brooklyn, Dillon hopes to present a piece New Yorkers will be proud of. The most important part about being a New Yorker is the pride that comes with it. I tried to do a lot of the famous landmarks that people come from all over to see.” Those elements included the legendary architecture, experiences… and of course, a pigeon.
“I can’t take experiences from a life I’m not living.”
The future is bright for Dillon. “Everyone [here] is striving to be the best or do the best they can. The city doesn’t quit.” That powerful drive is reflected in his work. “Murals are great because they’re huge and not printed from a machine. They’re painted by people. That’s someone’s idea. That’s someone’s conceptual baby that’s now fifty feet on a wall. I like doing things big. That’s what New York is about.”