Manhattan Beach-based couple Jim and Kathleen Keifer, the official artists of Monopoly and Scrabble fine art, finally returned to the ‘GO’ square Friday night with a show at Manhattan Beach’s Riley Arts Gallery bookending a major North American tour that began in Santa Monica last year. Collectors and enthusiasts gathered for the special VIP event, which featured a five-lot silent auction benefitting both the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the Mira Costa High School PTSA.
Among the works on display were Kathleen’s beach and urban landscape paintings, including a majestic triptych of the Manhattan Beach pier, as well as the couple’s board game art from their lauded “Art of the Game” series. The game-themed artworks represent a collaboration between the couple, painting as JK Keifer, which began after Jim obtained exclusive licensing rights from Hasbro in 2009. A former toy executive and game designer for Mattel, Milton Bradley, and Parker Brothers, Jim only came back to fine art (after having studied it at Notre Dame) in the past two years. Shortly thereafter, Kathleen, a longtime practicing artist who met Jim at Notre Dame, began helping her husband with his Scrabble paintings.
The combination of the Keifers’ individual design sensibilities is largely to thank for the enormous success of the game series, which has attracted celebrity clientele from Sharon Stone to Steven Spielberg. Artist representative Becky Remy explains, “[Jim’s] graphic style and [Kathleen’s] painterly style created something different. Something that makes people go, ‘Oooh.’ I call it pop meets painterly. It’s pop art but it’s got all these nice textures in it. That’s why people like it.”
The Scrabble art, which features humorous sayings like “Need Coffee” and “It’s Complicated,” can be personalized on commission to depict words or names of the collector’s choice. Gallery owner Kim Riley, who encountered Kathleen’s solo work back in 2006, says of the game series pieces, “They are great gifts…very fun and unique art.”
The newest addition to the “Art of the Game” series was unveiled at Friday’s event. Just Take PCH, an acrylic and oil on canvas piece, shows a fictitious Monopoly square with “PACIFIC COAST HWY” as the property title and a surfboard-mounted Woodie in lieu of a traditional Monopoly token. As with the majority of the board game paintings, this work is also available for purchase as a limited edition, fine art print.
Selected artwork by Jim and Kathleen Keifer is currently on view at Riley Arts Gallery, 1007 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach. 310-372-3681.
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