Home News JIM KEAYS – The Secret Life of a Rock Legend

JIM KEAYS – The Secret Life of a Rock Legend

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Rock Legend Jim Keays fronted rock band The Masters Apprentices as singer-songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player from 1965 to 1972, and had many Top 20 hits in their career.  Keays, as a member of The Masters Apprentices, was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1998. As a solo artist he recorded several albums.  From  2000, he performed in Cotton, Keays & Morris alongside Darryl Cotton and Russell Morris.   But unbeknown to his fans, he was also talented in creating beautiful and evocated watercolour paintings with strong emotive powerful  and yet often subtle connections to the landscape or subject matter.  Within this exhibition we get true insight to the multi talented legend.


 In July 2007, Keays was diagnosed with myeloma and died in 2014 aged 67


“Jim Keays was a true artist in every sense of the word. A wordsmith, he was best known for crafting lyrics to music, creating songs that became timeless hits – songs that move the spirit of all who hear them.  Such a gift would be more than enough for one lifetime but there was more than meets the eye to the man who was my husband and life-partner for over 25 years.  Jim was also blessed with an innate talent for drawing and painting delicate watercolours. Two years and one month after his passing, it is my privilege and pleasure to invite you to enjoy Jim’s first ever art exhibition, The Secret Life of Rock Legend Jim Keays.”  – KARIN KEAYS.

Jim had rarely touched watercolours – his favoured medium – since the Masters Apprentices took off in the 60s.   He was uncharacteristically shy and self-deprecating about his ability.  Jim’s painting talent was a part of himself that he kept hidden, a vulnerability that he shared with very  few.


He would bring his latest painting into the lounge room and sheepishly prop it up on the mantle, prefacing its display with an apologetic comment. This was so unlike the man who had put himself and his music on display to the world for decades. I often described Jim’s rock star persona as having more front than Myer and the hide of ten rogue elephants. He never suffered stage fright and any criticism of his antics washed over him like water off a duck’s back but with his painting, he had no armour at all. Jim would give his art away as a gift and paint for charity when asked but he never felt able to exhibit.


In the ultimate gift of love and trust, Jim bequeathed all his paintings and artworks to me saying, “They are for you. You’ll know what to do with them.”
Two years and one month after his passing, I now feel ready to share some of the beautiful and poignant art of the creative spirit who was my husband and partner.


It is my privilege and pleasure to invite you to enjoy Jim’s first ever art exhibition, The Secret Life of Rock Legend Jim Keays. ….. Karin Keays


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