We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Dale Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly Dale, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
My whole life I have truly thrown myself into my art. It has become a major part of my soul, however until I was a junior in high school I did not think that it would be possible to make a career out of it. This was due mostly to societal pressure, and the fact that artistic degrees and careers are not valued as high as most quintessential paths. My mother encouraged me to look further into different artistic fields, and through a lot of time and research, I realized that I wanted to take the “career path” that I knew would be fulfilling: freelancing. It was no longer about how I was going to make the most money while still being able to be creative, it was about my happiness. I am now finishing up my art degree, and looking forward to continuing to grow a career where I can bring light to other people’s lives through my artwork. I owe this to my mom, because if it weren’t for her encouragement, as well as the support of my future husband, I would not have been able to believe that choosing art was at all possible.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is truly my wide range of abilities, and my craving for always learning more forms of art to add to my skill set. I have specialized in graphite pencil drawing for many years, but I have also dedicated a great deal of time to lettering, digital art and design, as well as watercolor painting, embroidery, and mixed media.
My artwork was first validated by the public eye when I was featured in several galleries and art shows throughout high school. After graduating, I kept creating, but had a difficult time taking steps to get my work out there. Finally with a lot of hard work and the encouragement of a great friend of mine, I started by simply setting up an Instagram account as a place to get my art into the world. I had been afraid for many years to do this, but once I finally did, things got more serious and I then realized it’s more than okay to take up space. Me, and so many others have so much to offer. Since that Instagram account, I have expanded to other platforms including my website that have played a huge role in growing my artistic career and portfolio.
There were several times that I strongly considered giving up, as it felt as though so many people within society required a lot of convincing that art is a reasonable and valid career path. I was often left feeling discouraged, but I always returned to art as a way to cope. When I found myself in those creative, meditative states, I knew that I could not just let something like this go. It was, and is my forever passion, and I am so grateful to my friends and family for being a major reason I kept going.
I want people to know that art is not easy. Like many things, it is sometimes a grueling and frustrating process and that has an end result that makes everything so worth it. Art as a whole deserves so much more recognition as an important piece of the world we all live in, and supporting your local artists can be life changing for both parties.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend was here in Denver visiting, I would first take them to LoHi, as it is one of my most favorite parts of the city. With it being right outside of downtown, there are so many fun things to do and AMAZING food and drink options! Avanti Food & Beverage Hall, My Neighbor Felix, Happy Camper, and Family Jones Spirit House are a few of my favorites. Then I would have to take them to the current city I reside, Golden. Golden has an amazing small town mountain feel, without being too far from Denver. We’d have to go tubing on Clear Creek, and hike South Table Mountain, finishing it all off with a grand tour of all the amazing public art spots all across Colorado.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a major shoutout to my mom, Cherie, and my fiancé, Kyle, for always giving me the encouragement I have needed, as well as always picking me up when I am down. They have always believed in not only my art, but me as a person. Both my mom and Kyle have given me immeasurable amounts of strength to keep my head up and keep pushing, even when I feel like giving up. Other shoutouts go to my amazing sister, Meghan, and my dear friends who have all supported my artistic venture. Katie, Anjelica, Jay, Ally, Kirsten, Jamie, and Ellie, have all been by my side in more ways than one. I also have to give a shoutout to my high school art teachers, as they all taught me so much and never stopped believing in me either. Mrs. Hawthorne, Ms. King, and Ms. Davidson, you rock. I could keep going, but the list would go on forever. I love you all.
Facebook: Kelly Dale Art
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Ally Sturges Photography