Early life and education
Keith Raywood was born in New York City, New York, and lived between there and Miami Beach, Florida, throughout his childhood. As a teenager, he attended The Dwight School and studied painting at The Art Students League of New York with Issac Soyer. In 1975, while enrolled at Cornell University for painting, he switched to architecture at the end of his freshman year, and then left for London to study at The Architectural Association School of Architecture. While there, he joined the unit that was tutored by architects Bernard Tschumi and Nigel Coates. In the spring of 1978, he traveled to the Soviet Union with Rem Koolhaas, along with Koolhass' other students and colleagues. Raywood credits his time at The AA as most inspiring and influential in his work, and it would later greatly inform his process, aesthetic, and "architectural" style as a production designer.
In 1979, Raywood returned to Cornell's College of Architecture. While there, he formed the band Symbols, released two EPs, and regularly performed in New York City clubs like CBGB's, Tramps, Danceteria, and Max's Kansas City.
Shortly after moving back to New York City in 1982, Raywood would meet and become the assistant to Eugene Lee on the film Easy Money. He then worked with Lee as his assistant and art director for the next three years on Lee's film, television, and theatre projects, while designing his own sets for music videos, commercials, television, and theatre. In 1985, Raywood would co-design with Lee the original production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater in New York City. Raywood has remained close friends with his mentor Lee, and to this day they share the Production Design credit at Saturday Night Live.
Raywood became the Art Director of Saturday Night Live (NBC) in 1985, and has been one of its production designers since 1989. He has also designed many music specials and series for Viacom's MTV, VH1, BET, and Spike TV networks including The MTV Video Music Awards, The Hip Hop Honors, The Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards, Hard Rock Live, 106 and Park, MTV Unplugged (2007), Divas Live, The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over, Spike Guys' Choice Awards, Spike TV Video Game Awards, The Comedy Awards, VH1 Rock Honors: The Who, as well as all of the combined upfronts for MTV Networks. His other television credits include 30 Rock (NBC), Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry (HBO), Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam (HBO), Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC), and The Concert For New York City (VH1/CBS) broadcast live from Madison Square Garden one month following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and for which he received a 2002 Emmy nomination. He has designed music videos and performances for recording artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher, Beck, Paul Simon, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Fiona Apple, Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Whitney Houston, Salt-N-Pepa, Death in Vegas, Bon Jovi, The Foo Fighters, and Macy Gray, as well as commercials for Nikon, AT&T, Apple, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Gap, GE, Visa, Dove, and Nike, while working with noted directors Michael Haussman, Mark Romanek, Mark Seliger, and Terry Richardson, among others. He also designed at 11 Penn Plaza, New York City the studios for the Fuse Music and MSG networks in 2010.
In 2007, Raywood turned his attentions to creating architectural designs for video art installations by artist-director-photographer Michael Somoroff. Their first collaboration Illumination opened at the BravinLee gallery on June 21, 2007, in New York City.
In 2009, Raywood was nominated for three Art Directors Guild Awards for his 2008 designs of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and the MTV Video Music Awards. He was again nominated by the Guild for 30 Rock and SNL in 2010 and 2011. He received the 2011 ADG Award for the 2010 Betty White/Jay-Z episode of SNL. Considering its longevity and influence, this was the first time Saturday Night Live had received a design award of any kind in its then 36 seasons on NBC. In 2012 and 2013, Raywood again won the ADG for SNL, this time for the 2011 episode of Justin Timberlake/Lady Gaga and the 2012 Season Finale with host and musical guest, Mick Jagger. He also received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2009 for Saturday Night Live, and The 2008 MTV Video Music Awards for which he won Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety, Music, or Non-fiction Programming. Raywood has received two first place Promax Broadcast Design Awards for his work on 2008's and 2012's Spike Guys' Choice Awards. In 2012 he also received an Emmy nomination for 30Rock. In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Raywood received another four Emmy nominations for Saturday Night Live, making it seven nominations for his work on that show. The 2013 nomination was at last rewarded with a win for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety, Music, or Non-fiction Programming, the first time in 38 seasons that SNL had received an Emmy in the Art Direction category.