Kelley began her college career as a graphic design major at the University of Cincinnati. She enjoyed her experiences at UC but it didn’t take long for her to realize this wasn’t the right fit, as she craved more expressive outlets and loved creating artwork by hand. The decision to change schools brought her to the Rhode Island School of Design for Illustration. Here she evolved her passion for painting and a strong interest in mythology and historical folklore. She graduated in 2001 with her BFA. Since then she’s worked on an entertaining range of projects, including painting commissions, murals, airbrushing, sculpture, Halloween toy design and gaming illustration. She later returned to school to focus on narrative oil painting, entering the master’s program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. During her time at SVA, she had the honor of being mentored by the painter Donato Giancola, whose training had a significant impact on her studies. She earned her MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay in 2010. Kelley currently lives and freelances in Brooklyn, New York.
“Nature, religion and the psychology of the subconscious are important sources of inspiration that I seek to unite in my artwork. I am fascinated with how humans develop elaborate connections to the natural world and how we use this to define our purpose. Some revere nature as sacred while others objectify it to suit personal desires. I am intrigued by the complexity of our thoughts and instincts, from how our fears take form in stories and visions to the variety of ways we seek to attain bliss. Using figures and symbolism with a touch of the carnivalesque, I search to illustrate humanity’s desires, phobias and our attempts to understand and control our world.”