JAY KELLY

 

 

ARTIST BIO

A Northern California native, Jay Kelly settled in Venice, California after graduating from UCLA. He began his career in graphic design, yet quickly emerged as a notable fine artist with his unique figurative collages created from books, photos and magazines.

Kelly has attracted the attention of collectors worldwide with solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Aspen, Park City and Miami, and is represented by galleries in Los Angeles, Boston, Maui, Mill Valley (San Francisco), Park City, Seattle, Whistler, B.C. and throughout Germany. His work has been featured in television shows and feature films, including the cult classic “Donnie Darko,” as well as in hotels, restaurants and bars in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. In addition to his exhibitions, Kelly creates a steady stream of commissioned work for private and corporate clients.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My work is a fusion of rawness and polish reminding the viewer that beauty can be found in unexpected places and in everyday encounters, such as a bird flying overhead, an old oak tree or a gritty urban street corner. These moments, initially captured through my photographs, emerge as the focus of the pieces. I then compliment each focal image with my shots of more conventional beauty, such as ocean sunsets and the palm tree lined beaches of Venice, California - my home that continuously inspires me.

I layer scraps of aged paper, muted imagery and bold hits of paint for texture and depth. I tie all these elements together with stenciled words and clippings of found text that serve to open up the narrative possibilities of the image, telling stories of memories and dreams, love and heartbreak, achievements and expectations. I finish each piece by sealing it under a thick glossy coat of resin, adding a visual polish and uniting the varied elements into one cohesive work.

This work showcases my many influences and passions, ranging from music and surfing to my fascination with the grittier side of urban landscapes, resulting in a careful blend of classic beauty and modern life. While my method is complex - using photography, found materials, paint, stencils and resin - my subject is simple, emotion. I dont pretend we have all had the same experiences throughout our varied lives, but I do believe we experience common emotions. I strive to tap into these shared feelings to push viewers beyond merely relating to an image but to call them ultimately to feel something inside that is real.

ARTIST PROCESS

In the late 90s, I started experimenting with figurative collage. As a self taught artist, I picked up second hand books to learn about art history. While creating my own work, I found myself clipping meaningful images and bits of text and attaching them directly to the canvases. I layered darker images and lighter clips of text with paint to create shadows and highlights. Eventually I dropped the paint all together and began creating images entirely out of found material.

After exploring a variety of media and techniques over the years, tapping into my love of photography and background in graphic design, I have most recently found myself drawn back to the creation of life-like, almost photorealistic imagery using old discarded paper - primarily vintage magazines and books. It is gratifying to create something tangible in such a digital world. My work nods at that nostalgia, while hopefully bringing a hint of mystery and classic beauty from a lost moment in time into present day.

As far as the process itself, I start with a source image that catches my eye for its balance, depth, beauty, romance and overall visual intrigue. Sometimes I find these images in books or magazines, other times the source will be one of my own photographs. Once I have chosen a particular image, I explore different sizing and crops. I then proceed to the formidable task of recreating it out of various bits of paper.

I use a range of collage material for their varied tones and content. For printed material, I use vintage magazines, novels (both classics and the more obscure) and art history books. Depending on the age, condition and yellowing of the old book pages, I am able to get various shades of whites and tans. I also use a selection of different shades of black paper stock along with a range of hand dyed paper to round out my color palette. The process is labor intensive as I hand tear and glue each piece to slowly build shadows and highlights. Eventually when the overall image takes shape, I take several trips across the studio to view the collage through squinted eyes to check proportions and make sure the shading all feels right. The bits of paper tend to get smaller and smaller as the piece nears completion.

Once the collage is complete, I seal everything in a coat of gel medium and then under a thick coat of glossy resin adding a visual polish and uniting the varied elements into one cohesive work. Each of their titles comes from text that has found its way into the finished piece.

I chose to paint with paper and various printed materials in order to achieve a unique depth to my work. By allowing the viewer to first see a complete, near photorealistic image from a distance, then at a closer look to explore the many individual textures and bits of text, I am able to add layers of meaning to each piece. I love the effect that thousands of little bits of paper, all taken out of context, come together to create something new. I feel art should inspire, transport and hopefully awe the viewer, that is certainly my intention with this series of collage.

EXHIBITONS

BORN

1975 California

EDUCATION

1997 B.A. Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2014
Continued on the Next Page, Gold Gallery, Boston, MA
Westward, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA

2011
California Soul, The Art District Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
VBAC, Van Buren Art Collective, Venice, CA
Loaded Symbols, J GO Gallery, Park City, UT

2010
Off The Grid, The Art District Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

2009
Sunset Boulevard, Falcon, Hollywood, CA
Into The Bright Stillness, Phoenix Gallery, Park City, UT

2008
Rawness & Polish, Commissary Arts, Venice, CA

2007
Lights Out, Go Go Gallery, Miami, FL

2006
First Words, MW Gallery, Aspen, CO
First Words, Museum Works Gallery, New York, NY
First Words, Museum Works Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014
Houston Fine Art Fair, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art Aspen, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art Hamptons, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art MRKT, Stephanie Brietbard Fine Arts, Mill Valley, CA
AAF NY, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
LA Art Show, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA

2013
Group Show, Gold Gallery, Boston, MA
Winter Sol, J GO Gallery, Park City, UT
Surfs Up, Art Project Paia, Maui, HI
Red Dot Miami, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art MRKT, Stephanie Brietbard Fine Arts, Mill Valley, CA
AAF Seattle, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art Houston, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art Hamptons, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Art Southampton, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica CA
Art Wynwood, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
LA Art Show, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA

2012
Gilded, Gold Gallery, Boston, MA
Winter Sol, J GO Gallery, Park City, UT
Red Dot Miami, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Fall Show, Stephanie Brietbard Fine Arts, Mill Valley, CA
Art Hamptons, Axiom Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
Massively Small, J GO Gallery, Park City, UT
LA Art Show, Axiom Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA

2011
Massively Small, J GO Gallery, Park City, UT
Group Show, Mensing Galerie, Germany
Red Dot during Art Basel Miami, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Art Hamptons, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Affordable Art Fair NYC, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
San Francisco Fine Art Show, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Red Dot NYC, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
LA Art Show, The Art District Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

2010
Aqua during Art Basel Miami, Stephanie Breitbard Fine Arts, Mill Valley, CA
Red Dot during Art Basel Miami, Lurie Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Group Show, SOHO Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Rogue Wave II, Anderson Art Collective, Carpinteria, CA

2009
Sensory Perception, 87Zero, Honolulu, HI
Small Works Invitational, Phoenix Gallery, Park City, UT
Rogue Wave, Anderson Art Collective, Carpinteria, CA

2008
Aqua during Art Basel Miami, Commissary Arts, Venice, CA
Small Works Invitational, Phoenix Gallery, Park City, UT
Poker Night, Commissary Arts, Venice, CA
LA Art Show, MW Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Group Show, Mensing Galerie, Germany

2007
Group Show during Art Basel, Go Go Gallery, Miami, FL
Small Works Invitational, Phoenix Gallery, Park City, UT
Group Show, Mensing Galerie, Germany
Art Miami, MW Gallery, New York, NY

2006
Glassed, Museum Works Gallery, New York, NY
The Group 2006, Lois Lambert Gallery at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
Portraits, L Street Gallery, San Diego, CA

2005
Petite Works, Gallery 825 at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
The F-Stops Here, Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA
Mixed Bag, Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA
Playground, 247 Central Park West, New York, NY
Mingle, Crescent Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA
Recent Work, Alpha, West Hollywood, CA

2004
Soul Satisfaction, House of Blues, West Hollywood, CA
Remixed, Hum, Santa Monica, CA
Strictly Visual, Lois Lambert Gallery at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
New Members, Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA
Petite Works, Gallery 825 at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

2003
Up Our Sleeve, Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, Tokyo, Japan, Kyoto, Japan
Things dArt, Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA
Awake, Gallery 138, Los Angeles, CA

2002
Pulsation, Zanzibar, Santa Monica, CA
Arts 4375, Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey, CA
Unscene, Miller Studio, Venice, CA