CHRIS KELLY

(American, born 1972)

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I was born in New York City but was raised in East Hampton, NY.  I studied painting and sculpture at Cornell University and my work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and South America.  In addition, I have received corporate commissions from the Dream Hotel and Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, The Dorchester Hotel in London, and my paintings are in many corporate spaces and private collections.

 

I have also worked extensively with interior design firms in NY City and Asia, ranging from onsite murals in Harbor Island, Bahamas to commissioned artworks in Singapore and Thailand.  After living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for many years, I am now back in East Hampton where I live and create artwork full time.

As an artist, I am often asked about the inspiration for my paintings.  I could talk for hours about the history of art and all the influences that have had an impact on my creative process, but the truth is that I mostly find inspiration useful as a starting point.  There are many ideas that fuel my desire to create, and in regards to my abstract artwork there are several concepts that I treat as mantras when I begin each canvas: We all need structure in our lives.  Life needs to be built on a solid foundation.  We have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the past - not just our own individual experiences, but ancient wisdom and universal truths that we can research, study, and bring into our everyday lives.

 

I approach every canvas as a combination of painting, drawing, and sculpture, building on an underlying structure that combines and interacts with the blocks and lines of color.  Sometimes the colors start with specific meanings and sometimes they emerge spontaneously.  With that said, this is only how I begin - once the layers start overlapping I have to let go from the initial concept and allow the paintings to take on a life of their own.

 

Each canvas is an interior journey - it can be introspective, a space to venture into, or a place from which we have emerged.  When I paint them I think about discovering new spaces within oneself or finding something new outside of oneself - both literal and figurative spaces that invite further exploration.

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