Artist Profile – Kristel Kelly

Artist Profile – Kristel Kelly


Where do you live/work? Where is your studio?

I mainly work at home in Clinton. I often take over my dining table for pencil works and my easel is permanently set up in my lounge room for large pieces such as my Hanson entry. My children love seeing my art as it progresses so I like having it as part of the living space in my home.

Often, I play my audiobooks as I work. The topic may not match the content of my work, as with this recent piece I was listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, but I find it keeps me from second-guessing my decisions and potentially overworking the painting or drawing.

What have you entered in this year’s Rio Tinto Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards?

My entry this year is ‘Bare Out Back’. It’s my largest piece to date, as long as I am tall and is displayed just above the stairs in the gallery.

 Tell us a little about it:

‘Bare Out Back’ depicts an idea I have been working with since 2012. This piece is a landscape, but also a figurative painting as well. She is Mother Nature, rendered desert-like because of the commodification of nature and the land as a whole. I create this and works like it to remind the viewer of the link between the land and ourselves and of our responsibility to nurture the land as it sustains us. As a secondary idea, one could also see the human body as a landscape with hills and valleys to be explored.

I used ‘oil bars’ which are like oil paint but in stick form. I draw with the sticks to apply the colour and then blend with my fingers. This allows me to feel very close to my work as it has my fingerprints all over it.

What inspires you to create art?

I am inspired by the process and materials I use, as well as dramatic landscapes and the human form. I attend art classes weekly with Irene Sparks and also go to Life Drawing at Crow Street Creative. Spending time around other artists sparks some amazing ideas and Irene is constantly encouraging us to explore new techniques, mediums and processes.

I document my work in time-lapse videos and post these to my Facebook page and Instagram account. People who follow my work really enjoy this as they can see the work develop and appreciate the time it takes to create. The conversations that ensue from these posts of mine can be inspiring as well, as people may comment with where they thought I was heading with my work. It’s pleasing to see others thinking about the creative process and hear what they would have done were they doing the piece themselves

Why do you think Art Awards like the Martin Hanson are important?

I get more excited by the Hanson than any other event in the year. It’s like Christmas to me. All the local artists come out of their studios and mingle, inspire and admire each other. This is the time of the year when you have an insight into their last year, their struggles and successes, new mediums and fascinating subject matter.

The Hanson is vital to this community as it showcases the incredible talent in this region, gives emerging artists a chance to be shown alongside more developed works and for the locals to see some works from other states, allowing a refreshing and inspiring experience.