Jewelry Still Life
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Interview with Kelly Chehardy
Interview with Kelly ChehardyArtist Spotlight
by Constanza Ehrenhaus
This article contains questionable material. This article is questionable because: Female nudity
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Kelly is a personal friend of mine. Throughout the years I've seen her growth and development as an artist. Her very personal style is interesting, aesthetically unique and might make some viewers uncomfortable, but it is certainly fascinating. Please, let me share with you the art of Kelly Chehardy.
Hi Kelly, could you please tell our readers a bit about yourself and your artistic background?
As far back as I can remember, I loved to draw, as well as do crafts. For me, it was often an escape from the world.
I still have millions of sketchbooks stashed under my bed from my youth, mostly comprised of fantasy, gothic and surreal imagery as well as reproductions of my favorite artworks. I remember days of going to the library with my mother, piling up unrealistic stacks of books filled with inspiring imagery for me to reproduce, as well as for me to read. One of my favorites, was a collection of encyclopedias called Man, Myth and Magic, which consisted of everything from religion,cultures to mythology.
I always loved to draw, but I never though it possible as a career; therefore, I went to cosmetology school after high school. Although it was a slightly creative atmosphere, and I enjoyed mostly makeup (which I viewed much like painting), I longed for a different type of creativity, one which allowed me more freedom. After a year in the salon, I quit and decided to go to college for my true passion.
College was such a surreal experience for me, as well as a long journey to discover myself as an artist. It was fun yet stressful, and angered me at times, and although I hit a few bumps in the road, I am grateful that I stuck with it and graduated. I was introduced to a whole new world, stretching my knowledge all over the place from design, sculpting, ceramics, photography to time-based media which would eventually become my major.
Since graduation, I have been concentrating mainly on sculpture, but I never limit myself (I get bored really easy). I am always trying to learn something new. I also do jewelry, illustrations, costumes, and photography.
How did you decide to go into an art career? Do you feel that having gone to school opened new interests in you?
Ever since I was young, art was always an escape for me. I can't remember a moment where I wasn't making something. After I graduated high school, I actually went to school to be a cosmetologist. However, after working in the salon, I just wasn't satisfied. I decided I wanted to attend college, and concentrate on my art, choosing time based media as my major.Something about making my images move, really inspired me. Media opened up a lot of new ideas for me, as did my teachers who gradually pushed me to research. I know that school is not necessary to succeed as an artist, but I do not regret those years one bit.
If it weren't for school, as well my teachers helping to dissect my works, I don't know if I would be making the art that I am now. They opened my eyes to new possibilities that I would have never have thought of. Not only that but they taught me to play, to experiment, to plan (which is something I have trouble doing), and most importantly to research. So, yes school helped me to learn more about myself, as well as opened new interests for me.
How would you describe your art?
Well, the content in my art varies depending on my mood, but the majority of my art I would say is surreal, psychological, and I guess you can say often dark. The theme that many times I like to play around with is the subject of something beautiful yet dangerous and untouchable. The way my teachers used to describe it often was that it attracted the viewer while at the same time repelling them. I really like that concept and I have since tried to incorporate that in many of my pieces. However, like I stated earlier, that is likely to change.
Who would you define as your biggest influences?
I could write a whole book on influences, since almost anything and everything I see influences me. I have so many things (not only artists) ranging from my bizarre dreams,
psychology, mythology,fairytales, religion, films to a list of artists. Several of artists are Elizabeth Mcgrath and her dark, macabre sculptures, Hans Bellmer, Max Ernst (I love surrealism), Aubrey Beardsley, Gustave Klimt, Virginie Ropar, and The Quay Brothers. Another one of my influences is Angela Carter, one of my favorite writers.
Lately, we've been seeing a lot of sculpture from you, what attracts you the most about this medium?
Something about turning my ideas into a 3d object that I can touch and hold really excites me. It is like I am breathing life into this object. It just seems so much more satisfying than a painting. I actually wasn't into sculpture much until my last 3 semesters in college when I took a few ceramics courses.
I have always loved figurative, so when I finished school and didn't have porcelain clay nor a kiln, I bought some polymer clay, and began sculpting. I am now working on a ball jointed doll, which I have been obsessed with for years. It has been a struggle but I am finally understanding it. It will be really satisfying to finally have not only a 3d object but one that can pose and move and be used in combination with my photography and short films. I think it will open up new opportunities and ideas for me.
What are your tools of choice when sculpting? What would you recommend our readers to buy if they were interested in sculpting?
Well, I began using porcelain clay, which I loved, but due to the fact that I do not have easy access to a kiln, I now work in polymer clay which just requires an oven. I use cernit, fimo puppin and pro sculpt. Each on has their positive and negative so I often use a combination of these clays. Recently, however, I have been working a bit with La doll and Premier, which are air dry clays, and due to the fact that they are easy on the hands, and don't give off smelly fumes, I have been really thinking of using these rather than
polymer. As for tools, I use a bunch of things, but my hands are my most important tool. One of my most favorite tools that I could not live without and I believe is a must for any sculptor, are clay shapers which have eraser like tips in various shapes and sizes. They work wonders when smoothing out tiny cracks, especially on the face.
You also do some interesting illustration, how do sculpture and illustration go together for you?
Often when I work on an illustration, I have no intention of converting it to a sculpture. However, many times I begin to visualize the possibility of a certain images in sculptural form and have attempted to transform it, however the result is usually dramatically changed. Their have been a few however, that worked out pretty much just like the illustration.
Sadly, I haven't been doing too much illustration lately. I wanted to concentrate fully on my sculpture, however I am sure I will take a break from that shortly and produce some more.
You also cosplay, making some interesting outfits. What got you interested in cosplaying and how do you choose the outfits you want to make?
I have always loved dressing up. Something about becoming someone else for a day just takes me away from reality. I started cosplaying about 7 or 8 years ago (I think) after I really started getting into anime and Japanese art. I had no knowledge of sewing, and I refused to buy an already-made costume, so I decided to teach myself a new craft. As for how I choose the outfits I make, it really just depends on what stands out to me at the moment.
If you look at my costumes, their are a variety of characters I have chosen to recreate. My mind is always changing therefore I choose the outfits which fits my interests as the moment. I have done things from magical girl sailor moon to a sexy steampunk girl. Lately I have been trying to challenge myself so I always like to pick a new character that will teach me new methods of working.
What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
The fact that I have so many interests and things that I want to do, often I do none of them. Ideas fly through my head constantly, almost too much and I can never settle with just one so I spend a whole week thinking about which one I want to do. Sometimes I will start on that idea and then start dwelling on a new one, and I lose interest in my current project. It is a constant battle to make decisions for me. Their are so many things I want to make. Which do I choose first? I blame that on being a gemini. :)
What's with thorns and nipples?
Haha. I started using thorns in ceramics class in on of my projects. As I said earlier, I love things that are dangerous but also I like to use it as a sort of protection, almost like a barrier around my subject, as if keeping anyone or thing away. As for nipples, I won't lie. That has always been my favorite thing to draw and sculpt, and I think I am getting really good at it. Ever since I was young i loved drawing nude women. What can I say, no one can deny that the female body is beautiful.
Where can our readers find your art?
http://www.behance.net/KellyChehardy or cliodnafae27 on DeviantArt. I suggest behance because I find it much more organized and professional looking.
Will you be doing conventions?
My next convention is in June so I have been planning my next costume. I hope to start selling my artwork at these conventions soon, however it will be hard to give up dressing up and enjoying the convention.
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