Artist Interview – Kelly Kilmer

28 May

Blue Twig Studio is lucky to have artist Kelly Kilmer from Los Angeles, CA coming to teach 2 classes in July. I thought you might like to get to know her a little bit better, so we prepared this interview for you. Please be sure to visit Kelly’s blog for more fun stuff and inspiration. And I hope you get a chance to take one or both of her upcoming classes here at Blue Twig Studio. (links are below)

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

Tell us a little bit about your art background. Have you always done art? Do you have an art degree? What types of art have you done? What types of classes have you taken?
I’ve been making art since I was a little girl. The joke was that I always had either a pencil, crayon or book in my hand (along with a stuffed animal.) I was always drawing and making little things. 
I am self taught though I took one drawing class at Massachusetts College of Art. 
I have done a wide variety of art and have taught myself bookbinding (Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz is the BEST bookbinding book there is), collage, drawing, painting, a variety of mixed media everything from acrylics, gouache, watercolors, water soluble crayons, assemblage, jewelry, and fabric arts. I found that my main passion is paper arts and that has been my focus for almost 20 years now. I love making books and filling them. 
I have taken a small handful of classes over the years from the likes of Juliana Coles to Carla Sonheim to Karen Michel (I’d recommend all three instructors in a heart beat.) I wish that I could take more classes but I am usually too busy teaching my own. I also read a ton of books (everything from art, inspiration, film, biographies, creativity, non fiction, fiction, etc… If I think that I can glean an idea from it, it’s in my hands!)
Who has inspired you the most in your artistic career?
My students always inspire me the most. They push me to be the best artist and teacher that I can be. It’s because of them that I am always developing new classes and searching for new ideas. 
My favorite artists that have inspired me are Corita Kent, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Barron Storey, Lynda Barry, Maira Kalman, The Surrealists, to name a few. My husband and my son have also been very big inspirations in my life. 
What is your favorite medium to use and why? 
Paper. You can do so much with a piece of paper. It’s an open door to possibility! You can fold it and shape it into something (it can even fly!) You can spill your heart out onto it. You can paint with it. I love paper!
What is your favorite class to teach and why? 
I don’t have one favorite class. I love teaching and seeing the light bulbs go off over someone’s head. I love it when someone starts to ask a question and they realize that they can do anything! 
How did you get started teaching? How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching art since late 1997. When I was little, I thought that I’d either be an English teacher, forest ranger or drummer! I spent a lot of time filling notebooks with my own musings, drawings and stickers (lots and lots of stickers.) When my son was born, I made him two full albums of photos (from the time he was 0 to 6 months, all of the other photos are now in boxes.) I started making greeting cards to sell (and I did pretty well selling them through a local shop.) One of the local stamp store managers suggested that I teach classes. I started teaching basic card making classes. It was okay but something was off. The card store only wanted cute cards and everything was done assembly line style so it sucked the life out of me a bit. I remember walking into Stamp Stamp Stamp in the Glendale Galleria and seeing Lynne Perrella’s Acey Deucy Goddess stamps and thinking, “THIS. THIS is what I wanted to do.” I taught myself bookbinding and went from filling store bought books to my own books. 
How has your artistic/creative journey changed over the years (if it has)?
I started out making scrapbooks and cards. I fell head over heels in love with bookbinding and filling my books. I taught myself how to use acrylics and a wide variety of media. I’ve worked on canvas and paper. I dabbled in jewelry making, assemblage art and fabric. I like to make things but I have found that I am most passionate about art journaling and filling books made by my own hands. When I realized that about 10 years ago, my entire focus changed to seeing how much I could push myself as primarily a paper/book artist. I am always looking for new ways of doing things and exploring the many possibilities that are out there.
What direction do you see the mixed media industry heading? What trends have you noticed.
I don’t pay attention to trends. I found that when I find a tool or product that I like, I stick with it. My favorite tools are pretty much the same after many, many years. I started using tape in 2004 and was over the moon when washi tape was introduced shortly thereafter. I also have my favorite pens and stencils that I like. I share all of this on my blog and in my classes. I found out that my best classes are the ones that I am most passionate about and that I don’t teach product but process (while using products that I love and recommend.) I don’t work for any companies. I work for my students and for myself. 
Lately it seems harder to be noticed and that there are lots of people teaching and selling. It’s hard for a lot of new people as well as some of us who have been around for awhile. I think that we have to support our local mom and pop art shops as much as possible as well as each other. 
Share a favorite quote or favorite art book with us.
Hands down, my favorite art book is Learning By Heart by Corita Kent and Jan Steward. Kent is one of my favorite artists and teachers. She truly believed and taught that inspiration is everywhere! You just have to do the work.
-Kelly Kilmer
by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer


by Kelly Kilmer

by Kelly Kilmer

Kelly has a wonderful style of working and I am looking forward to her classes in July. Just click on the links to take you to the class information page. 
July 16th – 9:30am Pieces of Me
July 16th – 1pm  The Pages Within 
If you can’t take a class with her at Blue Twig Studio, then I hope you can find a class somewhere else.
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918


2 Responses to “Artist Interview – Kelly Kilmer”

  1. kristin May 29, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    Love Kelly’s work! The classes look and sound simply fabulous!!


    • Deb Prewitt May 29, 2015 at 7:53 am #

      I’m looking forward to meeting her. Too bad she is only here for one day.


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