The graphic designs of Peter Keefer depict the land configurations and canyon colors of the Southwest US.
Born in 1933, Keefer received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1958. His interest in printmaking developed shortly afterward, and he continued his training with graduate studies at California State University at Northridge where he was awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Printmaking in 1970. During the next ten years, he developed the highly identifiable style which has remained characteristic of his work: earth colors modulated against harsher tones which charge his images with a sense of time and place. Today Keefer lives and works in Taos, New Mexico, whose geography figures prominently in his prints, tapestries, and paintings.
Keefer created these prints as collographs, a method of printmaking that incorporates elements of drawing and collage with monotype and intaglio printmaking techniques.
The plate can be intaglio-inked, inked with a roller or paintbrush or some combination thereof. Ink or pigment is applied to the resulting collage and the board is used to print onto paper or another material using either a printing press or various hand tools. The resulting print is termed a collagraph. Substances such as carborundum, acrylic texture mediums, sandpapers, textiles, bubble wrap, string or other fibres, cut card, leaves and grass can all be used in creating the collagraph plate. In some instances, leaves can be used as a source of pigment by rubbing them onto the surface of the plate.
Different tonal effects and vibrant colours can be achieved with the technique due to the depth of relief and differential inking that results from the collagraph plate’s highly textured surface. Collagraphy is a very open printmaking method. Ink may be applied to the upper surfaces of the plate with a brayer for a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire board and then removed from the upper surfaces but remain in the spaces between objects, resulting in an intaglio print. A combination of both intaglio and relief methods may also be employed. A printing press may or may not be used.