MY ART STORY by

Jennifer Kelly

Daphne
Alabama

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Small collage artwork.

Venus by Jennifer Kelly. Photo courtesy of artist

I’m pretty sure as a kid I must have given Crayola’s factory workers a run for their money—coloring books and drawing were a part of everyday life (besides watching Disney movies, of course). Growing up, my family and I moved around almost every two years, and it seemed the only thing constant in my life was my love for history and drawing. Art was my escape from the unfamiliar and, at times, the only friend I had (but I did end up making friends with plenty of kids from Washington State to North Carolina and South Florida, some of whom I still keep in contact with). I carried this love of art and creating through childhood into high school where I was determined to make a career out of this love, besides the dreaded ‘starving artist’ idea. Throughout high school I won numerous awards for art, including a scholarship to North Carolina’s Governor’s School program in art. After a visit from one of the Art Institutes in high school, I was able to realize that there was a career to be made in the arts. This nudged me toward my current ‘day job’ as a graphic and web designer. An education at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago (BFA in Visual Communications) prepared me to still think as a fine artist even before touching the computer. Graphic and web design was the perfect career for me to meld the two areas of expertise as one. Over the years, I have discovered that being creative has no limitations and cannot be confined to one professional title. Thus, I coined the term ‘creative to the heart.’ I consider myself a ‘creative explorer,’ although my current job title is ‘web master.’ I explore all aspects of the creative field, including illustration, photography, acrylic painting, mixed-media artwork, party planning, handmade jewelry, and even costume design. Today I work at the United States Sports Academy as their web designer doing not only what my title entails but taking photography, writing, and working on marketing plans. Still, when I go home, I am unable to turn the creative switch off and work on my fine art, jewelry, and other arts and crafts.