‘The Manual Life’ artist profile – Rich Kelly

richkelly

By Rich Kelly

Some of my earliest work dates back to 1986. Abstract swirls dance across the crisp white sheet of copy paper. With the literal mental capacity of a toddler, I’m sure there was little connection between the right side of my brain and my chubby little toddler fingers. My tools were manufactured by Crayola, 64 colorful sticks made of wax.

Over the next 28 years my artistic focus shifted from trucks and monsters to detail-crammed imaginary laboratories (a la Where’s Waldo) to making paintings that looked like the photographs I was referencing. I took pride in being “the kid who could draw” in school, and with my parent’s blessing and encouragement, I went to Syracuse University to study Illustration. Finally it was revealed to me how I could apply these abilities to a career: a client would contract the use of my hands and my brain to make images, which I would then exchange for currency, a perfect plan.

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Living the Manual Life

manuallife

By Henri J Boulanger

The act of creating, disassembling, or modifying something is what tells the child inside of me that there isn’t a monster under the bed. When everything in life is handed to me pre-made, guaranteed, and safe as can be, I begin to feel something akin to claustrophobia; it’s like watching somebody play Monopoly for me. I feel robbed of the opportunity to expand, simplify, or simply tinker. This poking, prodding, construction, deconstruction, and overall exploration of the resources at hand and the structures of my mind is how I breathe, how I exercise, and how I live. It’s the Manual Life.

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