Billy Kheel Skyhigh Von Miller

Billy Kheel Gets ‘Skyhigh’

In content and form, Billy Kheel is well at ease in finding harmony in the incongruous. Well, the seemingly incongruous. For his latest exhibition, the artist, whose work has best been described as “Rick Ross meets Betsy Ross,” finds muse in the reconciling of the weed/sports contradiction.

Now a quick show of hands: How many utterly agile athletes do you know—and I mean total beasts in the clutch, true poets on the field—that are certifiable stoners too? A lot, right? Me too. Kheel takes that fascination of the high-performing champ that smokes and still dominates and turns it into a new series of mesmerizing, three-dimensional portraits—in felt. That’s right, successfully skewing every bullshit boundary of “feminine” arts and crafts and “macho” sports culture, each piece in the aptly titled Skyhigh is arranged from the delicate task of hand-cutting and stitching colorfully dyed wool and recycled felt.

Billy Kheel Skyhigh Rasheed Wallace

Using the materials very much so as a painter uses paint, the Los Angeles-based artist gives incredible dimensionality (You see those highlights on Sheeds calves?!) to the likenesses of newly crowned MVP Von Miller, Randy Moss, Hope Solo, Rasheed Wallace, and Tim Lincecum among others. On average, a solid week’s time is dedicated to a single creation.

Kheel first began working with felt about six years ago, by making large-scale felt appliqué sports pennants. As his practice evolved, he ventured beyond the domain of athletics, and in the intervening years, created projects centered on the Los Angeles River and the city’s strip mall culture. But, Skyhigh marks Kheel’s return to sports as subject matter—this time with a greater focus on driving his portraits into the realm of painting.

Billy Kheel Skyhigh Jr Smith

Billy Kheel Skyhigh Ricky Williams

“Felt appliqué is an incredible medium,” says Kheel. “Aesthetically, I love the image of a human propelling themselves through the air. As a former college football and lacrosse player, I remember the slow motion sensation of floating through the air to be one of the most profound experiences in sports. I’ve also always been fascinated by the idea that many amazing, high-performing athletes were smoking marijuana while they were also dominating their competition.”

“Athletes,” Kheel points out, “caught using weed have been subject to suspensions, and even criminal prosecution. I feel that highlighting some of these All-Star and Champion stoners raises interesting questions about sports and culture and our shifting ideas on what constitutes healthy behavior.”

All at an exhibition in Colorado, no less.

Billy Kheel Sky high Randy Moss

Skyhigh begins this Saturday, February 13 at Black Book Gallery in Denver (304 Elati Street), with an opening reception from 6–10 p.m. that is free and open to the public. The show runs through March 12, 2016.

Related Posts

Drugs
Drugs

There Will Soon Be Chill Places To Smoke All That Good Weed In Denver

Drugs
Drugs

Check Out How Medical Weed Is Made In New York

News
News

Ancient Weed Stash Seized By Archaeologists

News
News

California Has So Much Weed They Literally Can’t Smoke It All

News
News

Nearly Two Tons of Weed Disguised as Limes

Ad

Latest News

westside gunn Features

Westside Gunn and the Great Griselda Takeover

Respect the Almighty, no matter what language it's in
offset Features

Offset’s 15 Best Verses of 2017

Woo! Woo!
serious jones Video

Stairwell Freestyle: Serius Jones

Serius as a heart attack
antwon Music

The 10 Best Underground Mixtapes of 2017

You up on this?
adam22 Features

Adam22 of the ‘No Jumper’ Podcast Smashed the Like Button for SoundCloud

"When I'm getting hate, I can tell how to translate the hate into what they want from me"
donald trump Features

Donald Trump’s 31 Worst Tweets of 2017 (So Far)

He still has 21 days left for more misery
grownboitrap Video

Open Space: GrownBoiTrap

"Haitians don't play about that"
21 savage Features

21 Savage’s 10 Biggest Surprises of 2017

A weird 12 months for one of the year's breakout stars
remy ma Features

Wonder Woman: How Remy Ma Changed The Game For Female Rappers in 2017

"Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a bully. I actually bully the bullies"
J. Cole sitting on a porch in hockey jersey Features

Reexamining J. Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyez Only,’ One Year Later

This is a novel, everything else was the Cliff's Notes
Mixtape Art

Star Wars Meets Hip Hop On DJ Chong Wizard’s ‘The Last Mixtape’

You should be as excited about this mixtape as the movie
hopsin Video

Open Space: Hopsin

"If I feel like I'm a piece of sh*t, I'm going to be the coolest piece of sh*t to ever walk the earth"
Morlocks Knowledge

Knowledge Darts Vol. 30: Why Underground Rap Will Never Die

I'm still underground like a motherf*cking Morlock
beenie man Features

Murda She Wrote: Beenie Man, Konshens, Tarrus Riley, Aidonia x Govanna

The best real dancehall music right now
pineapple citi Music

So What If 50 Cent Stole Her Song? New Jersey Rapper pineappleCITI Is Moving On

The last thing she wants is for 50 to outshine her music
g herbo Video

Smoke a Blunt with G Herbo

“You need to be paranoid when you ain’t on some weed, ‘cause shit be going over your head.”