Q + A with Kelsey O'Kelley

Kelsey O'Kelley is a self-taught illustrator living in Chicago, IL. She draws her inspiration from the natural world, literature, music, and scripture. Gouache, watercolor, ink, and digital techniques are the primary media she uses to create her original designs.

Some of the biggest challenges I face is time and inspiration.
— Kelsey O'Kelley

1.) You're a self-taught artist, specializing in illustration. How did you get into this field?

I have drawn and painted since I was a child, and after college I began to pursue my art more seriously. I started experimenting with gouache and ink, and I made myself accountable to producing art by starting an Instagram account. Since then, I've been blessed with some special commissions and art show opportunities.

2.) What are some challenges you face with your work?

Some of the biggest challenges I face is time and inspiration. I always wish there was more time in a day to create, since I currently have day jobs that are not art-related. I'm also working on being flexible about my creative process. I want to be able  to create any time of the day, not just when inspiration strikes! 

3.) What are some long term goals when it comes to your illustrations?

My top goals for my illustration business are to build up my Etsy shop and to continue to develop a great client base for commissions and brand requests. One of my dreams would be to have designs at a store like Anthropologie! 


4.) Who has been a strong influence on you and your work?

Lots of artists inspire me! That's what I love about Instagram; it's a constant source of creative inspiration. Some of my favorite artists that have influenced my creative life are Julianna Swaney and Dinara Mirtalipova. I'm also inspired by other art forms such as classical music.

5.) What's next for you in 2018?

2018 has been a great year for me so far! I have some of my art products in one of my favorite coffee shops, Brewpoint Coffee. I'm looking forward to collaborating with the art community through hope + easel as well as displaying my art in a few local shows. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds :) 

Learn more about Kelsey here

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