Hamilton, Ontario based artist Keith Busher started Precious Mutations in January 2012. Inspired by the art of David Irvine, and tired of his kids watching the same old television programs repeatedly Keith took his kids to the local ‘Drop n Shop’ to find an up-cycling project. Keith came home with several ceramic figurines and began his mutating career. Since then he’s created over 50 mutations and continues to create every day. In May of 2013 Keith shared a show with David Irvine at Manta Contemporary Gallery entitled ‘Re-Visions’ and was featured in the Hamilton Art Crawl. Highlights of what he’s accomplished so far include his ‘Zombified Nutcrackers’ which were highly sought after during the holiday season of 2012 and saw his work get shipped globally to Australia, Japan, Europe and throughout North America. Keith has expanded his ‘mutations’ to include photography and other items being up-cycled, no longer just figurines.
Keith had always been irritated by the over the top ‘niceness’ of Christmas decorations, intrigued by how they always seemed slightly sinister and awkward. One his first pieces had an awkward gait, so he zombified it Another was a baptism piece where the parents looked disinterested and defeated so he went with an ‘Omen’ theme. He was drawn the the idea of taking something so innocent and completely flipping that idea around. He does try not to make EVERYTHING horror themed, but I go where the piece takes him and explains “I guess I’ve got a lot of dark ideas floating around in my head. I enjoy zombifying things because there’s just so many gruesome things you can do with Zombies and it seems to garnish the strongest reactions from people.”
Keith credits an artist named David Irvine as his inspiration for getting started on creating Precious Mutations. “His art really jumped out at me and inspired me to go out and create something” he explains “His series of Re-Directed paintings are very creative and imaginative and stick with you. He also carries a bit of the ‘Dark Side’ so that helps too. I love all kinds of street art. I’m inspired by anything new and experimental”
“My musical tastes range quite a bit as well. From Tool, to Ben Folds. I can listen to folk music or groove to a good jungle set. Music is a MUST when I’m creating though. I find that if I’m stuck or getting frustrated it’s because my playlist has ended and I hadn’t noticed.”
He also cites the horror films of his youth as influential factors, including Alien, Jaws, Poltergeist and cheesy classics such as THEM!, Kingdom of Spiders and Plan 9. He enjoys movies which take a preposterous idea and make it seem feasible.
In Popcorn Horror tradition, we asked Keith about his zombie apocalypse plans. “I plan to take a lot of photos during the apocalypse for reference” he explains “Then I’m taking my family and my art supplies, a buttload of food and heading north. The zombies are going to be the least of our worries if nobody is manning things like the nuclear power plants etc. Plus I think the cold will slow them down a bit, unless they are like the zombies in Dead Snow….then I’m screwed either way”