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Art Discussion Group - Malta

122nd Meeting Artist 

Keith Balzan - Expressionist

The 122nd Art Discussion Group Meeting will be held on Tuesday 17th June 2014 at 19.30hrs at MISCO OFFICE (first floor) in Fino Building in Notabile Road, Mriehel.

ADG is inviting a young artist Keith Balzan (1975-), who is very creative and expressive and outstanding in conveying mood, to meet its members and friends. The artist will answer questions from the floor regarding his vision, concept, and career. He will also elaborate about technique and exhibit some of his original work.

Keith Balzan is an expressionist by nature and his particular and individual strength is in creating mood, atmosphere and character. He is imbued with a certain dynamic power or frenzy (estru), an inspiration that rises deep from inside him like hot lava from the vent of an active volcano. His work is a dynamic explosion of forces that overwhelm and overcome our emotions, our very being.

His forte is in pencil drawings, his sketches in pen and ink, ink and washes. His graphic works in a contrast of black and white or light and dark forms reveal his forceful character, his expressive powers. He loves dark, obscure colours and a chromatic palette to obtain a dynamic punch and almost violent impact. On other occasions he uses bright warm colours for emotional effect. He uses block black, blazing reds, flaming yellow and murky blues for expressionistic and emotional effects. His personal vision is indebted to the masters of Expressionism: Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Munch and Frantz Marc. Yet his approach is multi-faceted as he experiments boldly with photography and exploiting computer programmes.

A still life with skull projects the artist’s passion for warm colours and sensual light. It is a reference to an interior, probably the artist’s studio as a sacred space where Keith can enjoy solitude and relish a pensive mood. Keith’s studio-window faces the setting sun. His studio is a belvedere overlooking the landscape that stretches from Santa Lucia to Mdina. No wonder most of his landscapes are painted from his studio window. He is passionate, involved, tensed, dramatic on the verge of the tragic, laced with a presentiment of impeding ‘angst’ and enmeshed in a divine struggle towards a cataclysmic end. This is truly the artist’s mood. So young and yet obsessed with sunset, with the dying day rather than with sunrise the birth of another day.

He is a strong determined character though eclectic in taste. He is obsessed with passion and desire, speed, spontaneity and improvisation. Through draughtsmanship and sharply defined linearity and geometric qualities he achieves a dramatic ‘chiaroscuro’ effect. His predilection for dark and obscure forms, and spaces lit by fitful brilliant flashes of light, reveal the dark side to his character, the tension and stress of a dramatic existence.

Keith Balzan is a self-taught artist moody but assertive. He was brought up in Paola by Frank and Beatrice neé O’Dea. His mentor was his late grandfather Joseph who left a great impression on the lad. Keith married Margaret neé Brincat in 2001 and after obtaining a B.A. Art and Communication Studies degree at the local university, he started teaching Art in State schools. 

He is inspired by the vicissitudes of life around him, peoples’ characters: hopes, joys, sorrows and mood which he tries to portray, interpret and immortalize. Social issues and the rich cultural heritage of our island stimulate him and recur in his work.

ADG invites all members and their friends and the public to enjoy meeting Keith Balzan and share with him the pleasure and enjoyment that art instills.

 E. V. Borg

06. 05. 2014   

Artistic Credits

He won various local and international Art and Design based competitions including the following:

The Maltese Swatch Design competition (1992) – 1st

The Delicata Wine Label competition (2006) – 1st

The International Fiat Grande Punto Sticker Lab competition (2008) - special prize

Shortlisted for the MLP Logo Design Competition - 2010

The EVO Magazine International T shirt design competition (2013) – one of the 4 prize winners

He had the opportunity and was interviewed by leading Spanish TV station Telecinco and featured in one of its cultural programmes.  Besides, he has been regularly featured by the local media and has been offered web and exhibiting space by national and international entities/organisations.