“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” - Exodus 31:2-5
Sculptor Brian Keith (b. 1971) works toward excellence in his art with a firm conviction that, as for the biblical sculptor Bezalel, God will be honored in his craftsmanship.
Keith has earned nationwide recognition for his portraits, monuments, and limited edition sculptures. Characterized by careful attention to the human form and a passion for storytelling, Keith’s work brings classical technique to a wide range of contemporary subjects.
“Ultimately my work is an act of worship. If I were a musician writing a song, I would immediately want to humble myself in God’s presence. I would find a passage that inspired me, soak it in, and study it like I was preaching a message on it. I would pray for wisdom and wait on God’s Spirit to move my heart. I would work and rework the lyrics and music to match the posture of my heart before the God of the Universe.”
For Keith, fine art is a ministry and a lifelong pursuit. Born and raised in the East Bay of Northern California, he began training at the age of 7 with his first mentor, his grandmother. His efforts as a young artist were rewarded with an offer to attend the Academy of Art in San Francisco on full scholarship—but Keith’s complementary passion for faith led him to study the Bible academically while also pursuing his education in fine art at Biola University. The following years included Keith serving in full-time ministry and creating works of art in his converted garage studio. Painting studies with Daniel Greene, Ken Auster, and Carolyn Anderson continued the technical foundation for his art. And Keith’s ministry would build the passion and content for what he continued to create.
In 2001, Keith found himself seeking instruction that would take him to a still higher level of proficiency. Captivated by the passion and vision present in the work of Morgan Weistling, Keith reached out to the artist and began what would be a transformational mentorship. Three-dimensional clay sculpture emerged as Keith’s forte: a multi-faceted art form combining elements of artistic vision and design and the physical workings of the artist’s hand. In sculpture, Keith found a perfect match and a powerful new vocabulary.
In 2005, Keith received the first important commission of his career: a bronze portrait bust of former President Reagan ( a limited edition of 200) that has made its way into the private collections of Governor Mitt Romney (Massachusetts), Governor Rick Perry (Texas), Governor Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakasvhill, and also features in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Shortly after this major work, Keith earned a commission from Centercal Properties, who charged him with developing a sculptural program for a plaza under development in Danville, California. Keith produced Swan Tales, a narrative about a man who sits down to read to his granddaughter, as the story miraculously comes to life in front of them. Keith’s whimsical figures found great success and led to two more large commissions.
“I want to convey the story with the passion of a character in the middle of it. If there is a grandfather riding on a swan, I want to jump into his shoes and imagine what it really would be like. I want to be free to experience the fullness of the tale.”
Today, Keith’s ever-expanding portfolio includes gallery bronzes, commissioned life-size and monument-sized works of art. Keith is an elected member of the prestigious National Sculpture Society and has shown in its annual awards exhibition. Keith is also an elected Artist member of the California Art Club, a Sculptor Member of the Portrait Society of America, and a Sculptor Member of the International Sculpture Center. His bronze sculptures and oil paintings can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States.
Brian Keith and his wifeLanisa, an award-winning singer and songwriter, continue to make their home in the East Bay of California. They have four children: Malia, Jordan, Teah, and Nathan. Art and faith warm the Keiths’ home.