David Keefe ’09 MFA served in the United States Marine Corps from 2002-2009 and completed a tour of combat duty in Iraq from 2006-2007. Keefe is also a Director and Coordinator for the Combat Paper Program at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. Keefe has also been teaching Beginning Painting at Montclair State University since 2009.
Combat Paper is a community of veterans dedicated to the process of deconstructing, reclaiming, and communicating their military experiences to the world. Combat Paper is run by veterans, for veterans. The veterans deconstruct their past by cutting up their military uniforms; and reclaim their experiences by making handmade paper from these uniforms. They then communicate their lives and experiences by printing images and speaking their words on the paper.
During this time at Montclair State, Keefe’s paintings about his military experience lead his Adjunct Professor Ahni Kruger ’05 MFA to believe that Keefe might fit the role of Coordinator at Combat Paper quite well. Keefe notes that this professor is the one that introduced him to the program.
In addition to Kruger, Keefe mentions some other professors from his department that have influenced him, Professor Julie Heffernan, Joyce Catherine Bebout, and John Cerkowicz. He also talks about Andrew Atkinson, Assistant Professor/Director, MFA. Keefe says that Andrew “brings a certain vibrancy to the program.”
Describing his experiences in the Art Department at Montclair State University, Keefe says, “I had a great time. I love the proximity to New York. The program hosted a lot of visiting artists – I found a lot of inspiration that way.” Keefe also describes the atmosphere of the Art Department as a “young, raw, and energetic program” and calls it “trial by fire”. He goes on to say, “Being so near to New York, there is a certain standard set, let’s live up to it. It really is an energetic program.”
Keefe was highly involved in the Art Department while at Montclair State. He was awarded a Graduate Assistantship, the Ann Chapman Scholarship Award, the F. Paul Shields Award, and nominated for the Dedalus Foundation. He was a Graduate Assistant and also student taught. He helped to organize gallery shows at the MFA and coordinated the 2009 MFA Show. Keefe also worked with the Film Department, and with professors from the Department of Art and Design including Anthony Pemberton, Roberta Friedman, Nancy Goldring, and Karl Nussbaum, with whom he still works with outside of school.