William Keihn

William Keihn is a multimedia artist and designer, currently based in Nashville, TN.  He has worked with public and private institutions, both independent and commercial and has exhibited his work both domestically and internationally. 


Instagram: @billykeihn

How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

At an early age I associated cameras with privilege. I don't remember seeing a lot of cameras around as a child, and maybe that had to do with the modest working class Midwestern culture I was brought up in. When I got into high school I could clearly see that the kids shooting for the newspaper and yearbook weren't necessarily talented. It’s just that their parents could afford to buy them nice things.

I don't spend time analyzing my style. If I did, I think I'd quickly get pretty stuck. I consider my ability to communicate and drive long hours just as important as my photographic style.

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

Artist or not, people undoubtedly respond to their environments—whether that be through the strict adherence to the fascistic codes of a suburban neighborhood association or the subversive and creative adaptation to abject conditions below the poverty line. I enjoy a good hustle specific to a unique setting.

How do you choose your subjects?

Often recklessly and with excitement.

Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?

Dave Heath, Archie Shepp, John Cassavetes, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, William H. Gass, Larry Brown, Tanya Ballantyne, Neil Haggerty, Danny Lyon, Frederick Wiseman, The Diggers.

Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of?

I just moved to Nashville from Los Angeles, so I look forward to my reassignment.

Where do you go to draw inspiration?

I go for long runs in most places that I visit. I like to see a place wake in the morning and to exhaust myself as a way of opening creative pathways. Running in a new environment, I pull in a lot of information and make myself vulnerable to the point of physical exhaustion, almost defenseless. I leave a lot of sweat in the streets where I shoot. It’s a spiritual investment.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

Agitated, inspired, manic and hungry, yes.

Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.

Slogging away to keep my belly full and putting together a solo show for an early 2017 debut in Los Angeles. Perfecting my vegetable curries and keeping illness at bay.