Jamie Kelly Art
About the Artist
I’m attracted to heavily textured surfaces that happened naturally; aged paint on a barn door or the rusty hulls and motors of old boats, for example. Hence, the abstract direction in which my photography is moving. My painting, on the other hand, is inspired by all sorts of things. The idea for Mama Nature came from an aerial photo in National Geographic magazine of a dried lake bed where bacteria thrive in brine pools. The untitled painting of the woman on the chaise lounge was inspired by the way the cover sheet draped over the sides of the lounge in my studio...and a bad state of mind, evidently.
Although much of what I do is abstract – or something close to that – I’m most interested in neo-impressionism, particularly Georges Seurat (1859-91), the French painter who is credited for developing pointillism, a system using small dabs of pure color that merge when viewed from a distance. I love it and plan to do much more. It’s slow goin’ but the reward is there for sure. Another Seurat I will never be, but I can certainly appreciate the excitement he must have felt when he stepped back from his painting and all those small points of color did what they were supposed to do.
As is the case with almost every artist, my interest in creativity was piqued at a young age. My dad would bring home huge pieces of paper that were used to protect sheet metal in the shops where he worked and my mom would tolerate having these sheets spread out across the living room floor. Money was tight, new toys were few, but my five siblings and I had access to tools and materials from my dad’s workshop and encouragement from both parents to be creative. Today I am thankful for that.
I had been working for many years in the circulation department at The Flint Journal when a writing/creative position was added in advertising. The circulation director, to whom I am still grateful, encouraged me to apply, knowing the job would be best suited to someone of a creative nature. I guess I assumed it was the latter, hoping he wasn’t simply trying to get rid of me. I got the job and with the help of many kind, talented artists, I learned a lot about graphic design. In this position I coordinated, designed, took photos and wrote for the newspaper’s advertising based, tabloid format focus sections.
When the newspaper offered me a buyout, it was my chance to pursue what I was always going to be when I grew up. I’m often in the Flint area to visit family and friends, but now live in northern Michigan where I find lots of old boats and barn doors to photograph. I have a studio in Suttons Bay, about twenty minutes northwest of Traverse City in Leelanau County, where again I find myself surrounded by kind, talented artists who inspire me.