1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hi, I’m Kelsey! I’m an American illustrator born in St. Louis and currently living in Kansas City, MO. I feel like my career is just starting to take off and I’m not sure where I’ll be next year, and that scary and exciting!
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I’m not sure when I started drawing, but I started using Photoshop when I was 11 in 2004 (at the height of Neopets and Gaia Online). Art school taught me to use a computer in a different way, but lately I’ve been trying to be really self gratuitous with digital art. Right now I’m obsessed with drop shadows and faux-embossing. I think digital art has a huge influence over the way I work. Also, I love creating pictures out of hundreds of little moments, and including little characters that make me laugh and act out my thoughts in a more abstract way. I like unity with drama and hyperbole. Is that an aesthetic?
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Ink and Photoshop. Ink, as a drawer, I feel I have the closest relationship with. Pen, brush, I don’t care. I love it all. And Photoshop is just such a funny thing, you know? I feel like I’m playing cards with the devil when I use it, and it just feels so good.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Usually, I say to myself, “I want/need to make something,” and scribble in my sketchbook for a while until I see something interesting in it. Like, literally scribble in little thumbnail boxes. Then I start sketching in pencil to figure out a composition, and there’s a lot of back-and-forth between the formal elements of the drawing and the content and narrative that starts to grow out of it. I try to keep requirements I have for the piece in mind. That may mean literal requirements from a client, or new things I want to try. I don’t like a piece that comes out perfectly as I imagined it in the beginning; it always has to grow a little along the way, and it has to keep me on my feet as I try to make technical decisions until it feels done.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Life experience, myth, naivety, and the absurd.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I don’t think there is a difference between art and life for me. It colors everything about the way I live, the things I do, the way I schedule my time. It sort of yucks me out how much of my life is based around it, and I’m trying to start thinking about it more as a job than a platform to live on so I can focus better on healthy living and relationships.
7. Where did you study?
I studied illustration at the Kansas City Art Institute, and loved it a lot. I’ve been teaching short classes there off and on and hope to stay connected to the school.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Perhaps in a bigger city, doing fine art and teaching, with more tattoos.
9. What about in ten?
See above? I don’t really like to think that far in advance :*)
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
A balance between enjoying it and making money with it would be nice. If I can do that, and inspire other artists along the way, I’ll be happy.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Sourdough bread and cheese and Brussels sprouts, and hotsauce!
12. Favourite book?
I’ve been trying to read House of Leaves for four years and I’m enjoying that? Gee I don’t read many books. I read a lot of creepypasta on the internet thought. I love the Interface series and Ted the caver, and all of those stories about the National Park SAR guy.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Experimental pop and instrumental stuff? Like Animal Collective, and Colin Stetson’s work. And witch house.
14. What are your hobbies?
Petting dogs, watching anime, and sometimes writing a tabletop game system or conlanging.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A mess. Or something having to do with biochemistry or linguistics.