Phoenix Comicon: Artist profile – Keith Decesare

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Keith DecesareFreelance illustrator and “big geek,” Keith Decesare, is an incredible concept artist who specializes in the fantasy and steampunk genres by “shaping imagination into visual reality.” He most often works in the digital medium and has created art for role-playing games, trading cards, book covers, video games, historical depictions and movie concept art.

Keith performs extensive research on his subjects and creates narratives for each piece of work, believing each picture has its own story. Many of his stand alone pin-ups depict beautiful and adventurous women in fantasy settings, but he has also won awards for imaginative work such as his ‘Puss n’ Boots’ piece that depicts a swashbuckling Bengal tiger on the high-seas.

Keith has created art for WotC, Kenzer Co. and Atlas Games and he is also the artist and author of the very fun RPG themed webcomic, Roll 4 Damage, in which talking game pieces discuss the trials and tribulations of their gaming lives. The 2012 Phoenix Comicon is his first large-scale vending event, and while Keith is busily preparing his wonderful wares for exhibit, he took a few minute to answer our Nerdvana Artist Profile questions.

What is your secret origin?

I come from the deepest darkest regions of Phoenix Az. with a small jaunt to and from the magical land of California. I am a self-taught artist who is trying to hammer out a freelance existence.

Robots vs Zombies by Keith DecesareHow do you describe your artwork?

Steampunk pin-ups, talking dice, samurai babes, deadly Victorian Ladies with dragons and felines in boots… You know, the usual.

What is your goal/ambition with your art?

For the past year or so I’ve been working towards my goal to be able to actually live off my art as opposed to doing art as a hobby.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on my webcomic, Roll 4 Damage, for myself. I’m also working with local author Sharon Skinner to do a cover on an upcoming novel as well as a CD cover for local band HideBehind!

Who/what has influenced you most artistically? Which artist(s) do you most admire?

Donato Giancola, John Howe, James Gurney, Brian Froud, Aly Fell, Adam Hughes, Jason Chan, Serge Birault, Linda Bergkvist, Bobby Chiu, John Singer Sargent. I am influenced and admire all these as well as many others. Although, if you ask me to pick one, I would have to say my Grandfather, Glen Guyett. He used to be a graphic artist who did many designs such as the First Interstate bank Katchina, the original Taco Bell sombrero sign and the Mr. Lucky sign on Grand Ave. Now he teaches watercolor classes here and in Pinetop.

Steampunk Aviator by Keith DecesareWho is your favorite local artist?

There are so many great artists I know here it’s hard to answer. If I had to[say] it would have to be Daniel Davis of Steamcrow. His posters, books and comics are brilliantly done!

What is your favorite music to listen to while working on your art?

Pretty much anything goes. Just depends on the mood I want to be in. Right now (don’t laugh) Nightwish, Kenny Loggins – Return to Pooh Corner and anything from Jonathan Coulton.

What is your favorite movie and how has it influenced your art?

The Dark Crystal had a HUGE impact on me! My dad took me to go see it in the theaters (yes, I’m old) and while my dad fell asleep, I was mesmerized by this “complete” world Jim Henson created!

What are you most looking forward to at Phoenix Comicon?

I’ve been going to cons for many years. This is the first one where I am a vendor! The thing I’m looking forward to is the experience of meeting everyone from the other side of the table!

Keith DecesareAre you offering any special exclusives for fans at Comicon?

I’m offering two prints. One is from my webcomic, Roll 4 Damage, and the other is a dragon suitable for any fantasy fan!

What is the craziest thing you’ve been asked to sketch?

At my first ever show, I was commissioned to do a sketch card of ‘Slappy,’ the ventriloquist dummy from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps (shudder).

If you had a superpower, what would it be and how did you acquire it?

Due to a freak lightning storm, my smart phone and I combine to become AppMan! I would know all, be all and I would never get lost, due to GPS! My weakness? No coverage.

You can find Keith at the 2012 Phoenix Comicon in booth #248. You can also follow him on FACEBOOK or check out his web page gallery at, and be sure to check out Keith’s gaming webcomic Roll 4 Damage.

2012 Phoenix ComiconArizona catches a lot of heat in the media and from the nation as a whole, but nevertheless our crazy ‘Hellscape’ is proudly called “home” by some of the greatest pop culture artistic talent in the country. So leading up to the 2012 Phoenix Comicon (May 24 – 27), Nerdvana will showcase a series of posts profiling some of the amazing local artists that will be appearing at this year’s convention. Read ALL the Nerdvana’s Artist Profiles!

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.


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