Kelly’s work is varied in content and in media. Having started as a ceramist, the mentality creating multiple objects still resonates in his work. The connection to his ceramic past is echoed in subject matter such as vases and vessels throughout the work. The floral and landscape imagery often refer back to his childhood in Colorado and to his extensive travels as an adult. Aside from the obvious influences of his teachers, the work of many European painters
informs his work. Picasso and the
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
It meant the world to me at the time. I felt like I was working in isolation and it was very uplifting to be recognized.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
More of the same. I still teach painting at Santa Clara University and work on my own art. In the same year as my Laureate award, I was also given an award by Santa Clara University College of Arts and Sciences for sustained excellence in research. I stepped down from the Chair position at Santa Clara and started a one-year sabbatical. During the sabbatical I was included in a group exhibit in Florence, Italy, and I was able to visit South Korea to do some research on ancient folk art. During the rest of my sabbatical I worked in my studio and produced a large body of new work for a solo exhibit in Davis, California, in Nov. 2013. I was asked to do several public art pieces. Two were large scale ceramic pieces on the SCU campus and the third was a large mural on the main post office in Davis. In 2014 I completed a residency at Smith Andersen Editions where I made monoprints with master printmaker Kathryn Kain. Several of the prints were displayed at the gallery at Smith Andersen in Palo Alto.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Just make the best work you can and try not to get discouraged.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
weak with little growth
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