We had the good fortune of connecting with Keith Recker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keith, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Setting aside as little as fifteen minutes every day to focus on color makes me happy. I dive into my swatch library, into color spec books from Pantone, Color Association of the United States, Color Marketing Group, Benjamin Moore, and others. I feel my way into combinations of colors. Why does it make me happy? It’s a kind of meditation to let the world slip away for a short while to immerse myself in developing color combinations and to dive into their histories and backstories. I try to take a photo or video of the results, and these go into an inspo file that I draw down from in everything else I do. It’s personal. It’s therapeutic. It has a long shelf life, and it turns out to be useful later on.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I always wanted to be a writer. Every one of the books I devoured across my life took root in some way or other, and in the course of writing mr creating, I often find myself unearthing a thought or an image that’s been in my head for decades thanks to them. Even my work as a trend and color forecaster, and as the editor of a highly visual magazine, TABLE Magazine, has roots in all the metaphors and images I ingest through reading.
At a certain point, I started to work hard to add greater visual depth to my way of working. I did not study design or color. But as our world becomes more and more driven by photographs, graphics, and images of all sorts, diving into visual discipline needed to happen.
I think the combination of that early literary experience with my more recent visual work makes it unique. Working back and forth across disciplines makes sparks and engenders unexpected combinations.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Pittsburgh has an amazing food scene, to which we pay regular homage at TABLE Magazine, so I would start with a Friday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (Hyehold, Spork, The Parlor Dim Sum, 40 North). Maybe we would go to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony because the conductor there is simply phenomenal, and he curates great emotion into his seasons. Hearing Manfred Honeck conduct Ravel’s piano concerto for left hand was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
On Saturday, we would take a drive to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. The way Wright’s design is both a shelter and a showpiece is intriguing. They way it turns its shoulders away from the very water fall it was designed to celebrate makes me think hard about what I lean into and what I lean away from. The way it compresses and then expands in order to create an experience of space and light is pure bliss. On the way back… maybe a dinner at 80 Acres, on the eastern edge of Pittsburgh.
On Sunday, a drive around the city to look at the many layers of history represented by the city’s buildings. From the ramparts of Fort Pitt, derived from cutting edge military thinking of the 18th century, to 19th century gems like HH Richardson’s courthouse and jail, to 20th century houses by Gropius and Meier and Venturi, to the 21st century attempt to modernize certain neighborhoods, there are stories being told at every turn. At the end of the day, maybe a great cocktail and sushi at Gi-Jin.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My partner and our daughter deserve a big shout for their patience and support. My parents also. My siblings. My dear friends. They are the solid foundation of home and heart that make the hard work and risk-taking truly worth it.
Linkedin: Keith Recker
Jeff Swensen, Keith Recker