Introducing the members of YouTube collective, PAQ.
Shaquille Keith is a man with many dreams. With a degree in Illustration and Visual Communication from Westminster, he’s just as much about his art as he is about his style. “Visual arts was something I was born into,” he says. “It’s something I’ve always been interested in and hold dear to my heart. It’s my finest form of expression”
“I dream one day of being able to pull a Basquiat and sell pieces for more than a decent amount of money,” he continues, citing one of “three major inspirations” – Tupac Shakur, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Alexander McQueen. “Those guys changed the world and the world’s way of looking at things,” he adds.
Unfortunately, however, you’ll be hard pressed to get your hands on a Keith original any time soon, as the 23-year-old is against taking commissions for now. “My art is something that I can’t just do,” he explains. “Everything I create is off feeling. Whether it’s an animation or a painting, there’s definitely a reason I decided to create each piece I make.”
But what inspires this feeling? “The idea of changing the world,” he replies frankly. “Everything I do, I want it to be a service to mankind. It might sound corny, but when I create it’s to inspire other artists so that they can go and create art and inspire others too.”
For Keith, being a presenter of a fashion show isn’t just about brands and labels; he’s driven by a sense of self that transcends his penchant for dungarees, berets and hoop earrings. “Style is more important than fashion for sure – it’s how I express my mood,” he says. “You can tell where my head’s at from the way I dress. I’m the kind of person who wears their heart on their sleeve, and sometimes those sleeves are Coogi, sometimes they’re Helmut Lang.”
At the close of our conversation, Keith ponders what it takes to stand out from the crowd in a scene as saturated as streetwear, something that all the members of PAQ seem to do so effortlessly. And it turns out that, in all of his unique flourishes, in his desire to be an artist that inspires others, the thing that makes Keith stand out from the crowd the most is actually his ease with being part of it. “Stop trying to stand out, because in doing that you’re doing exactly what everyone else is trying to do,” he says. “Just be the best you that you can be.”