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ABOUT Daniel J. O'Keefe


2014 Daniel J. O’Keefe at Art South Hampton

Daniel J. O’Keefe is an American Contemporary artist. Spending his formative years growing up in Beirut, Lebanon was instrumental to O’Keefe learning about other cultures and their art. Returning to the United States by the late 1950s due to instability in the region, the family settled in Bayville, Long Island. 


1966 Daniel J. O’Keefe’s first painting

“The Jetty”

When O’Keefe was 17, his 16 year-old sister Cathy drowned  due to a boating accident in the Long Island Sound. Later that summer O’Keefe created a painting that was his dark impression of the scene. Pulling and sweeping broad strokes across the canvas, he left streaking scars of reds and oranges that recall the moment of terror in Edward Munch’s “The Scream”. But O’Keefe's scene is absent of any people. Instead, he created an amorphous blending of the shore, sea, and sky that flows ominously to the left. This emotionally expressive work presaged his later abstractions says Art Historian and Critic Peter Faulk (discoveries in American

O’Keefe headed to New Mexico after High School where he attended Eastern New Mexico University. There he was introduced to Georgia O’Keeffe’s unique and colorful art. O’Keefe found a sense of beauty in the way Georgia O’Keeffe combined abstraction and realism into her art. Whether it was Georgia’s O’Keeffe’s paintings of colorful flowers, her black and white paintings or the Taos Art Colony, Georgia O’Keeffe’s art would have a lasting impression on Daniel J. O’Keefe.

O’Keefe entered the US Navy after spending a year and a half at Eastern New Mexico University. For the next three and a half years he traveled the world. Not long after leaving the Navy, Daniel opened a remodeling and construction business. 


1983 Sculpture on repurposed whirlpool cover

O’Keefe eventually began moving away from the accepted use of canvas. His art making made it’s way to surfaces such as construction and repurposed materials. O’Keefe found using mixed media on building material surfaces to be both challenging and pleasing. He also moved away from the brush and started painting with knives. He built large waist high tables to make his art on. He then mixed his medium on a slab of marble. Moving the mixture onto his hawk, and with different size spackle knives held in-between his fingers, he applied the mixture to his preferred surfaces. “Somewhere between the insouciant paint application of Jasper Johns and the passion of Cezanne, the upfront tactility of his art is fresh,” says painter and art critic John Perreault. “O’Keefe’s use of pigmented Venetian plaster and his denial of both the easel and the paintbrush prove you can make serious art outside the hegemony of the art-supplies industry.”


2012 Daniel J. O’Keefe’s Studio

  Bohemia, LI, N.Y.

Throughout the nineteen eighties and nineties Daniel J. O’Keefe continued to push his art to new boundaries. O’Keefe began making life size sculptures out of aluminum. He spent time throwing and firing pottery and learned the art of making the paper he used to print on.


1986 Violin Player

6’ h x 3’w Aluminum with silver paint

O’Keefe spent his summers in Amagansett, Long Island. He painted at the Art Barge located in the hidden haven on Napeague Harbor with other East End artists.  The Art Barge was a retired WWI Navy barge that was tugged to Long Island in 1960. At the Art Barge O’Keefe learned the art of watercolor painting. During the same time he painted a series of oil seascapes on canvas from the balcony of his rented beach house on the ocean.


1985 Seascape #13 

8’” X 13” oil on canvas

  Amagansett, NY

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1985 Lady With Flowers

24” x 18” Water Color on Paper

O’Keefe returned to college in 1996 to complete his undergraduate degree. He finished the undergraduate degree at C.W Post University, Long Island.  O’Keefe continued on to complete a Master of Fine Arts and a Master in Interactive Multimedia. O’Keefe entered the PhD program in Library and Information Studies at Long Island University following his Master’s degrees.  His area of study was cultural literacy. He gave his pre dissertation paper at London College University, England. O’Keefe is published in his field of study and continues his research. He considers the relationship between his art and cross-cultural studies not only to be enlightening, but an important element in his thinking process as he continues to make art.


1995 O’Keefe plasters ceiling

By now O’Keefe was restoring mansions on the Gold Coast of Long Island, including one of the homes depicted in The Great Gatsby.  He also restored the Frank Lloyd Wright home in New Canaan Connecticut known as Tirranna.


In the late 1990s O’Keefe became a commercial pilot fulfilling one of his life long dreams. With two planes he started a small air transport business ferrying clients to and from the neighboring Islands.  As O’Keefe piloted his clients from the east end of Long Island to Nantucket, Mather’s Vineyard, Fisher Island and other destinations, he realized looking down at the topography from above gave him a new artistic visual.


“As a pilot, I view another perspective. I visualize overlapping shapes, lines and structures that fit together in a visual puzzle” says O’Keefe.                            

Amsterdam Whitney, International Fine Art, Inc.


In the early 2000s O’Keefe began painting with mixed media on aluminum sheets. O’Keefe’s process begins with applying layer after layer of mixed media and color paste onto the surface of aluminum sheets. While applying and dragging the pigments across the picture plane, he embarks on an additive/subtractive process scraping through the layers while leaving some exposed aluminum base. This exposure is an integral element of the composition says Peter Faulk.


2015 Art Basel, Miami

18” x 18”  Mixed Media 

on Aluminum Panels

O’Keefe continues to use the process of scraping. O'Keefe's artwoks have sold at Art Basel Miami, Scope New York, Hong Kong, Art Southampton, New York and Paris as well as in galleries and art venues internationally. For over five decades O’Keefe has been making art. He now lives and continues making art in South Florida.

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2019 Roses

36”h x 48”w Mixed Media on Aluminum w/resin

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