By Megan Ewing
As a Tucson native, Keegan Rider grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. From spending his childhood living on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation to moving throughout South and East Tucson, Rider found inspiration in the everyday, focusing on the vibrant hues of the desert to influence his art.
“Each of these locations was very influential in developing my own personal artistic style. I was drawn to colorful traditional Mexican and Native American paintings,” Rider said.
Rider has always found art fascinating, but it wasn’t until high school that he focused on nurturing and developing these skills.
“I mainly worked with acrylic and oil paints on canvas but also focused heavily on pen and ink drawings and illustrations. It was during this time that I truly began to define my personal artistic style, and I even had my first solo art show when I was 15 at a venue called The Livingroom on 4th Avenue,” Rider said.
Rider’s roots have given him a deep love and connection with the community. Not only has the city of Tucson provided inspiration for his art, but its people provide endless support as he pursues his passion.
“The Tucson community is absolutely amazing when it comes to supporting local artists, and I have had the immense pleasure of working with a combination of businesses, non-profit organizations, local individuals, and the general public,” Rider said.
Murals bring beauty and joy to a place, and Rider’s mission is to spread happiness through his artwork.
Rider has painted a plethora of murals for private residences, but you can view two of Rider’s murals on display at 415 S. Meyer Ave, 85701 in the Barrio Viejo neighborhood and the southwest corner of Olsen Ave. and Helen St. in the Blenman-Elm neighborhood. The first mural is at a business called the Lash Factor Studio and the second is located at a private residence but can be easily seen from the street and is happily shown off by the homeowner.
As for what’s next? Rider will continue to look forward to his next commission.
“I would say that my favorite mural is the next one that I haven’t done yet, because with each new mural comes new opportunities to display and expand my artistic skills. Each mural I complete is unique and customized to my client’s vision, and it’s always a refreshing and interesting challenge to blend my distinct artistic style with their ideas,” Rider said.