The work of Shawndrewick Keys is immediately noticeable upon entering the Project Onward studio, as he works in a medium unique exclusively to him: aluminum foil. Initially, he says he was using foil to keep him from getting bored, but it soon became something much more than a casual pastime. The fascination with foil started at a young age; the artist recalls being on the floor at his mother’s feet asa toddler, sculpting boats and airplanes. As he has aged, however, so has his subject matter. Fascinated by monster movies old and new, Shawndrewick laboriously sculpts these monsters out of 100% aluminum foil. Godzilla, King Kong, and Mothra are common in his repertoire, but most intriguing are the elaborate fictions he has created himself. Overcome with idolization of giant-sized monsters, he’s created a universe run by the physical demi-god Kagora, a giant winged creature who conquers galaxies for the good of their citizens. Kagora, the artist says, “is a dark hero. He’s the type that wants to kill his enemies. His goal is to annihilate evil.” A demi-god of several forms, Shawndrewick has sculpted Kagora several times over at this point, each one taking unique shape and vision.
Born in 1994, Shawndrewick Keys is the youngest artist at Project Onward. He lives in the Chatham neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago.