We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alicia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk is just part of the process if you decide to sign up to pursue a creative career. I knew when I was studying art at college, that my path after would not be laid out in front of me- rather I needed to creative problem solve how I wanted to set up and afford a life that could focus on maximum time in the studio. Of course, I am still learning how to sculpt and re-sculpt what that perfect world looks like that includes a healthy balance of studio work and life.
Risk taking in the studio, I believe, is one of the best and only ways to grow- without trying an unknown you can’t truly advance in your work- and I think this can range from a small scale risk to a larger risk. Without risk, I would have never discovered my love of paper in the 3D form, would have never created my first installation and would have never signed a lease on a space dedicated solely to my work. Risks pay off- and not always at first.
Ultimately choosing to create time and space for your creative work, no matter what the cost- is the first and biggest risk to take.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a paper artist that uses traditional papercut techniques and folding methods to create abstract installations and sculptural works. I have been cutting and experimenting with paper in the 3D form for the past 15 years, and am still learning how paper breathes.
I prefer to work on a larger scale and always start with a loose design that can evolve as I cut out interlocking designs. I want light and texture to become a conversation between these patterned designs and their shadows. I want my installations to convey feelings of playfulness and elegance, an invitation to explore.
There is no timeline or distinct event that has gotten me to where I am today in my career, but more the connections, conversations and questions I have asked throughout the years. Always learning and being willing to re-learn. Exploring what makes you the happiest and then connecting with those in the same field.
Some lessons I’ve learned? Separate yourself from your work, if someone is critiquing your work, they are not critiquing you as a person. Play, experiment and mess up- that’s when epiphanies happen. Don’t save your good ideas for later, do them now. A wavy line is always more beautiful than a straight one. Be willing to take rejection humbly.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in Oklahoma, call Kansas home and adventure in Colorado.
When I am traveling thru or pitching a tent I have found these as my favorite spots: Resale camping equipment from Wilderness Exchange (Denver), camping at Shadow Mountain Lake, an over night stay and soak at Strawberry Hot Springs (Steamboat Springs), The WHOLE town of Salida and skiing at Monarch Mountain, driving south to Huerfano county and its magic along with a visit to Shii Koeii Community + Farm to say Hi to Mark and Val and grab a few eggs and goat cheese on the way out.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off, my parents, Connie and Terry, for all the encouragement they gave to me to pursue whatever my passion was. At a young age, they allowed me to dream to the stars and
My professors, mentors and friends: Michael Krueger and Yoonmi Nam. Their support, mentorship and
knowledge, inspired me to take leaps in my work that I might not have ever considered.
The communities that I have been lucky enough to call home for a week or month as an artist in residence: The Lawrence Arts Center (Lawrence, KS), Bunnell Street Arts Center (Homer, AK) OpenBox, (Porto Portugal). These art non-profits taught me how invaluable a strong community is.
The Lawrence artists that have stayed up late talking process with me and brainstorming big ideas: Seed Co., Johanna Winters, Yuri Zupancic, Jeremy Rockwell
Can I keep going? ha.
Other: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Linegar Photography