When asked by his high school guidance counselor in the tenth grade what career he would like to pursue upon graduation, David O’Keefe simply replied, “artist.”
“That’s great, but what do you want to do for a career?” the counselor implored.
The following year, same scenario. Again David answered the counselor’s question: “I want to be an artist.” The counselor rolled his eyes and suggested perhaps he should consider insurance sales or drafting.
Senior year, when called to the same counselor’s office for advising, David was prepared to answer the inevitable question. “So do you still want to be an artist?” the exasperated counselor asked.
“No, I want to be a guidance counselor.” He was sent back to class and not bothered about the matter again.”
Since that time, O’Keefe has lived with a sketchbook in his hand. He began his art career as a promotion artist at The Tampa Tribune, dabbled in editorial cartooning under mentor Wayne Stayskal, and later went on to become a News Artist. He is currently employed as a Special Projects Illustrator for the Tribune.
His sardonic caricatures and humorous illustrations have won numerous awards from many organizations, including The Society of Illustrators (NY and LA), American Illustration, Communication Arts, National Headliner Awards, Dimensional Illustrators, Art Director’s Club of NYC, and the Society of News Design.
In the mid-1980s, O’Keefe began experimenting with sculpting his caricatures and illustrations. With much practice and the advent of computer imaging software, he adapted this medium to deadline illustration. His sculpted illustrations are his most recognizable and have appeared on the covers of major publications such a Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Mad Magazine, and The Village Voice. He has also had several illustrations appear in TIME. His advertising work includes clients such as Coca-Cola, WaffleHouse, Fuji and SunCom Communications.
David O’Keefe loves the profession he’s chosen. He just wants to thank his guidance counselor for helping him clarify his choice. He considers himself blessed to pursue his dream and finds great joy in his family. O’Keefe resides in Brandon, Florida with his wife, Janice and their four children.