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The 10 Most Inspiring Amateur Portraits of Keanu Reeves

Updated on March 11, 2017
Keanu Street!  (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Keanu Street! (Honolulu, Hawaii) | Source

Who Is Keanu Reeves?

Keanu Reeves is a pleasingly vacant actor who has appeared in many popular movies. His straight, black hair and angular facial structure lends itself to "anime" style artistic renderings. Reeves's tragic personal life and status as a pop culture icon has inspired a worldwide following.


Reeves made his big break in film when he starred in the smash hit time-traveler comedy Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. After the success of the Bill and Ted movies, Reeves discovered that people around the world assumed that he was dumb-- all because he played an unintelligent comedic character in a movie. To avoid being pigeonholed into playing only comedic parts, Reeves started searching for roles that would make him appear cool, smart and suave.

Reeves's career took a turn for the intense when he won the role of Officer Jack Traven in the 1994 action movie Speed. Reeves's moving performance as the valiant savior of the lovable yet slightly mannish Annie Porter (played by actress Sandra Bullock) would later inspire YouTube users around the world to compile touching mashups of Reeves's heroic deeds throughout the film. One especially inspiring Speed mashup is set to Nickleback's anthemic song in praise of swashbucklers everywhere, "Hero."

In 1999, Reeves further solidified his action hero credibility after taking the role of Thomas A. Anderson (aka Neo) in the Sci-Fi smash hit The Matrix.

Ted "Theodore" Logan vs. Thomas A. Anderson


Keanu Reeves's Tragic Love Life

After Reeves's runaway success in 1999 with The Matrix, Reeves experienced two serious personal tragedies. First, his girlfriend Jennifer Syme gave birth to a stillborn child in 2000. Shortly after that, Syme died in a car accident after leaving a party at Marilyn Manson's house in L.A.

Since the events of the early 2000s, Reeves has led a solitary, somewhat sorrowful life.

In 2010 Reeves was spotted sitting alone on a bench, eating a sandwich. The sad photo provoked a massive outpouring of sympathy from the Internet, culminating in a June 15th celebration of Reeves's creative achievements in what became known as "Cheer Up Keanu Day."

A Young Woman Offering Keanu Reeves Her Support On "Cheer Up Keanu Day"
A Young Woman Offering Keanu Reeves Her Support On "Cheer Up Keanu Day" | Source

Keanu Writes "An Ode to Happiness"

In 2011, Reeves came out with a "grown up children's book" that was filled with art and reflections on his melancholy life.

Some reviewers have trashed the book. But they did not truly understand it.

"In short, it's just bad poetry accompanied by uninspiring artwork. The packaging is pretty nice but the content is just non-existent. You'll find a line like, "I draw a hot sorrow bath," with a crappy picture, and that's the page. Oh by the way it's not really 40 pages, because half are blank." - Amazon user Random1040

I, for one, can personally vouch for the fact that "An Ode to Happiness" is a truly inspiring read. "An Ode to Happiness" is a great addition to anyone's coffee table book collection, and it also makes for a fascinating conversation piece.

2013: the Year of the Keanu

The 2000s were a tough decade for Reeves. Several movies that he starred in were hits, such as the 2005 horror/action movie Constantine, the two Matrix sequels and the Philip K. Dick adaptation A Scanner Darkly. Yet, the actor also had a number of flops: The Watcher, Sweet November, The Replacements and The Lake House did poorly at the box office. Reeves hopes rejuvenate his career in 2013 with a series of big projects. 47 Ronin is a samurai movie that will see Reeves using his martial arts skills again in a movie, and Man of Tai Chi will be Reeves's first directorial attempt.

Perhaps the most excellent news of all, though, for Reeves fans is that the production of a third installment the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure series is underway. Reeves's agreement to take part in the film represents a turning point in his career. Finally, the actor seems willing to accept and embrace the early career choices that he has been running away from all of these years.

Prepare for Art

Now that you are full informed about all the twists and turns that Keanu Reeves's life path has taken, you can begin to understand the subculture that has cropped up around the actor over the years. I truly hope that you'll feel inspired by the works of art that I'm about to present to you. Ideally, you'll come away with a whole new appreciation for Keanu Reeves after viewing these images.

Sit Back and Relax and Get Ready For the

10. "Cheer Up Keanu" by Kitain


Here Kitain presents us with a hopeful image of a positive, life-affirming Keanu. His cheeks appear rosy and cute and his eyes seem to be open wide as if they are completely full of love. In the lower left corner of this piece, a cheerful, pink bird is addressing Keanu as "Keanu-kun." The Japanese use the honorific suffix "kun" to express the fact that a close personal relationship exists. We see, then, that Keanu has made a very special new friend. We also notice that in the top right corner, the sun is shining and smiling down at Keanu. With love and friendship, the future is very bright indeed.

9. "Keanu Reeves" by Serennac


In this gloomy, harrowing portrait from Serennac, it is immediately apparent that Keanu is looking rather haggard and old. His face is pointy, indicating malnourishment and his hair is scraggly and unkempt. A look into Keanu's eyes reveals a man that has stared directly into the void and lived to tell the tale. This portrait of Keanu is inspiring in that it helps us realize that in times of struggle, one can draw strength from within and survive.

8. "Keanu Reeves" by Gabriel Malkavian


This work by Gabriel Malkavian brings to light Keanu's feminine side. Interestingly, Malkavian seems to be presenting Keanu Reeves's likeness in a way that calls to mind the actress Sandra Bullock. The movie Speed was Keanu's first important action movie and was a box office smash hit. In this piece, Malkavian seems to be combining both pop culture icons into a hermaphroditic super-celebrity. The expression in Keanu/Sandra's eyes is that of longing-- but for what? The transcendence of gender? A Speed 3 movie featuring Keanu Reeves returning to the franchise after declining to participate in the making of Speed 2?

7. "Keanu Reeves" by Moppi


In Moppi's portrait of Keanu Reeves, we see Keanu with his head tilted forward. He seems to be beckoning to the audience, urging us to attend his upcoming movies. His hair is tousled, indicating perhaps that he just got out of bed. He appears to be happy, but Keanu's stiff grin indicates that he may be holding something back. Perhaps he is concealing a troubled, grief-stricken heart, or maybe he is wondering if he will forever be thought of as Ted Theodore Logan.

6. "Keanu Spike Spiegel" by Sohl


Here we see a Keanu Reeves who is obviously in the middle of some kind of transition. The air seems to be swirling around him. Perhaps he is standing on the deck of a boat, about to depart on a long voyage at sea. His collar is popped up, perhaps to protect his neck from the salty sea air. We see in Keanu's face a determined expression. Viewing Keanu in this manner helps us realize that where there is a will, there is a way.

5. "Neo" by Daisuke Bebop


Many artists seek to portray Keanu as a troubled soul, but here we see yet another facet of Reeves's personality. Reeves appears to be grinning at us with a slightly mischievous expression. Also, Reeves seems to be looking past us slightly, almost as if he is looking at someone or something that is about to creep up behind us. Perhaps one of Keanu's friends is kneeling down behind us, and Keanu is getting ready to shove us backwards so that we trip and fall to the ground. It may be that the artist Daisuke Bebop is seeking to portray what Keanu is not, instead of what Keanu, in fact, is. Anyone who has watched Keanu's films knows that he is a sensitive, lonesome soul who would never attempt to bully or threaten anyone. Seeing Keanu wearing a troublesome, mischievous expression helps us appreciate his actual zen-like, peaceful nature even more.

4. "John Constantine" by Katarina-Venom


Here, Katarina Venom shows us Keanu's seductive side. In this image, the first thing we notice is that Keanu is holding a cigarette and outlining the image of a heart in mid-air. The second thing we notice is that Keanu is staring at us in a dangerous and yet seductive way, simultaneously urging us to come hither while also warning us to stay the hell away.

3. "Neo" by backward-HER0


Technically, this is not a portrait at all-- but it should be. In this interesting juxtaposition, Keanu-as-Neo is pictured holding a banana to his ear. Here we are confronted with the image of Keanu in his prime (starring in the smash hit Sci-Fi mind-bender The Matrix) while also doing something completely ridiculous. Here Keanu seems to be trying to reach out and touch his audience, but what is he trying to say? He seems to be trying to let us know that the nature of the universe is fundamentally absurd. Too bad we can't hear him, though, because he is trying to call us with a banana instead of with an actual phone.

2. "Neo" by Mundokk


There's nothing subtle about this portrayal of Keanu-- this is an in-your-face, completely badass depiction of the film star. All hints of inner turmoil are absent from Reeves's single-minded expression here. In this drawing, Keanu is depicted at the top of his game, playing the role of Neo at the moment when he gains incredible super powers and unstoppable fighting prowess. In this image it appears that all of the anxiety and frustration that Reeves has held inside for years is directed outward in the form of a threat. Go ahead and bring it. Keanu Reeves is ready for anything you can dish out.

1. "Neo" by crazy13


Here we see Keanu Reeves elevated to god-like levels. Keanu has mastered self. The troubled actor has overcome both his tumultuous past and his image as a goofy teenager and as a result, he has matured into an all-grown-up action hero. Here, Keanu seems to be levitating in mid-air. He is powerful, but calm. Keanu has nothing to prove anymore-- he's just there. Doing big things.



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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I have always liked Reeves even though some people think he is a light weight actor. Not everyone can be Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, etc., etc.

      Interesting, outrageous, and fun hub. The Gail Chord Schuler woman is creapy on almost every level. Sharing. Theresa

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      I must agree with agusfanani " Even for a famous actor like Keanu, the world is not always a bed of roses".

      Thank you for such amazing work. I love your style.

      Voted up for interesting & awesome

    • mercuryservices profile image

      Alex Munkachy 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      I definitely think the number 5 portrait is my favorite. Thanks all for your continued support!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Lovely portraits of Keanu Reeves. I'd had no idea hid life has been so troubled. I liked him in Speed.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      I like his movies very much but I didn't know those portraits. Even for a famous, rich actor like Keanu, the world is not always a bed of roses.

      Thank you for sharing this great hub.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I can't decide whether I like 4 or 6 the best. This is an interesting read. I had no idea Keanu had such a tragic and bazaar life!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Man, I had no idea this hapa-haole actor had such a tragic and bizarre life! Gail Chord Schuler??? Way off the chart!

      Regarding your writing, simply brilliant, bruddah! You have a very unique style and writer's voice! Looking forward to reading more of your work. Thanks for following me. In just a few minutes, I'll be reciprocating!

      Aloha, and have a great weekend!


    • mercuryservices profile image

      Alex Munkachy 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Christian and TheKatsMeow, thanks for the comments. Definitely looking forward to the upcoming Gail Chord Schuler documentary.

    • profile image

      christianswing 4 years ago

      Great piece! All fans of Keanu and fans of Gail Chord Schuler's will be interested in the upcoming Gail Chord Schuler documentary! Learn the secrets of Keanu's sex dummy!!

    • TheKatsMeow profile image

      TheKatsMeow 4 years ago from Canada

      Wow, that was a really strange tale. I had no idea that Keanu Reeves had such a sad life. I have a friend who is absolutely bonkers over keanu Reeves, I am going to send her the link to this Hub. Very interesting!