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Studio Visit / Kelly Beeman

8 months ago by

One of the coolest things I get to do at the Atelier has seemingly nothing to do with the description of my actual role, and that is getting to meet and speak with artists I admire. The art world is just outside my realm of comfortability in speaking on, or so I thought it was until I met Kelly Beeman.

Kelly is an artist whose colorful post-expressionist work not only truly inspires and awes Garance and I, but has also attracted the likes of brands like J.W. Anderson. Getting to interview people you hold in high regard within any industry can prove inspiring for reasons beyond just seeing the artist at work. Speaking to Kelly revealed her innate ease and creativity, as well as the drive that powers her style, discipline, and inspiration.

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lifestyle artist studio visit kelly beeman atelier dore photo

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Oklahoma City and lived there until I was 18.

How did you start painting? Is it something you’ve always done or went to school for?
I have always loved to draw. When I was a child my sisters and I would create stories and illustrate them. They were actually sagas that continued over many weeks – each day there was a new twist to the story or a new character. They were essentially stories about teenagers (because we couldn’t wait to be them ourselves) and all of the details of their lives – we never had Barbie dolls, so this was a good substitute.

At the same time I was very interested in painting, and technique especially. My mother is an artist and used to create beautiful landscape paintings in watercolor, so she would teach me about mixing colors, application, etc. I was about 4 or 5 when I started sitting with her while she painted; watercolor fascinated me.

When I was 12 I started making paintings on canvases. Eventually I went to a visual arts high school, where I had wonderful instructors who taught me so much. But that was really my last formal study. In college I studied sociology.

lifestyle artist studio visit kelly beeman atelier dore photo
Studio Visit / Kelly Beeman
Studio Visit / Kelly Beeman

Tell us about your process, your pieces are quite graphic. How did you end up with the style you currently paint in?
I think that style is something that naturally happens when you create work consistently over many years. So other than that, I have no idea how I ended up with my style. I could not have predicted what my artwork would look like now even 2 years ago, and I have no idea what it will become in the future. I spent many years painting nudes, and then it occurred to me that clothes provide a lot clues about people, so for right now, I am enjoying making paintings inspired by that idea.

My process begins with a mental image, sometimes before I am falling asleep I imagine pictures and different scenarios and try to remember them the next day. Because people are always the main focus of my work – and because they’re invented in my imagination – I use fashion to develop their personalities. So once I have an idea for a painting I look through all of the collections and find clothes that express a quality I would like to impart on the subject(s). When I have the idea and am ready to start the painting, I draw the composition in very clean lines and fill in the colors using watercolor and mixed media.

How did you partnership with J.W. Anderson come about?
It was very funny actually – I didn’t know very much about fashion at the time and was barely using Instagram. But I was always looking for clothes that could help me execute ideas, or images that were in my head. So one day I was searching through collections on Style.com and getting very bored and frustrated not finding the right look.

Eventually I came across J.W. Anderson and clicked on a resort collection and immediately fell in love with everything I saw. I did a few drawings that day and shared one of them with Jonathan Anderson and J.W. Anderson on Instagram, honestly believing that they would never see it or care about it. So I was very surprised when I received such positive feedback. We have been working together ever since – every season I create original artwork for their offices in London.

lifestyle artist studio visit kelly bee man atelier dore photo

lifestyle artist studio visit kelly bee man atelier dore photo

lifestyle artist studio visit kelly bee man atelier dore photo

What is your favorite way to work? In silence or with music? And do you have a favorite place to work?
It depends – sometimes I enjoy working in silence, sometimes with music, sometimes with the same song on repeat. My favorite time to work is in the morning. Right now I am making large oil paintings and have to wait for them to dry overnight, so I wake up very excited and anxious to continue painting.

I work in my apartment. It’s not exactly ideal because it’s a small, typical New York apartment but everything in it is somehow related to my creative process. I have a piano that takes up a lot of space, but it also clears my head when I’ve been painting all day. I also like not having to go somewhere else to work…whenever I feel like painting (which is most of the time), everything I need is right there.

Top three sources of inspiration…
People, story telling, fashion.

Have you ever shown at a gallery? When is your next show?
Not officially….But I am doing a residency and having a solo show at 3125C in Los Angeles. We’re still deciding the specific dates but it will be sometime this fall. I’m very excited about it!

lifestyle artist studio visit kelly bee man atelier dore photo

Thank you Kelly! | Kellybeeman.com

18 comments

Add yours
  • Wow, absolutely gorgeous artwork. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Not my style but still pretty awesome!

    -Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com

  • L’univers d’un artiste : j’adore ! Vivre dans un studio/appartement et pouvoir creer sans se deplacer, des le reveil, est vraiment une grande chance.
    Les posts passent d’un univers a l’autre chaque jour avec aisance et j’attends avec impatience de voir la suite !

  • Amazing studio, I always to have one of my own <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Sunny Side April, 12 2017, 11:21 / Reply

    J’adore l’ambiance de ce studio. Créer est aussi important que respirer ! Hâte de visiter d’autres ateliers.

  • Delphine April, 12 2017, 1:09 / Reply

    I love Kelly’s work. thank you for featuring her xx

  • Oh wow I am in love!

    Arden | Missing Wanderer

  • I’m always inspired by artists who give us so much of themselves. These works that are reminiscent of Modigliani and Picasso are very awesome. As an artist myself and an art historian I always love ?? being exposed to new talents. Thanks
    Jandrew
    Dress The Part
    http://jandrewspeaks.com

  • Mercedes April, 12 2017, 3:02 / Reply

    I have been following her on instagram for some time. I love her Modiglianesque style. There is something very calm and sophisticated to it. Very nice to know a little more about her!
    Mercedes

  • J’aime beaucoup! Les formes et les couleurs sont très belles!

  • Oh wow, what beautiful works. Loving the ancient Minoan fresco inspiration in second panel of pictures.

  • C’est canon, vrai coup de cœur à travers mon écran !

  • I love what Kelly says about style – that it’s something that happens naturally. It’s impossible to predict, it’s very hard to consciously develop. I had hard time accepting that, but now I’m more at peace with the fact that I don’t have full control over what my style is, I just keep working and see what happens.

  • Becky Stratton April, 14 2017, 1:03 / Reply

    Kelly oozes talent! I have one of her mom’s paintings hanging in my home and one day hope to have one of Kellys’….

  • Merci pour ce très beau portrait.
    “En discutant avec Kelly, j’ai découvert quelqu’un de très à l’aise dans sa créativité, une femme structurée par un sens du style, une discipline et une inspiration” quelle belle manière de parler d’une personne !

  • Artist statements reveal the creative essence of the artist. I, too, learned to see and play with mediums with my mom at a very young age. You have had the passion to draw every since I can remember. I love seeing your postings and look forward to visiting your studio in NY and your exhibition in LA.

  • Kathleen Beeman April, 14 2017, 1:51 / Reply

    Kelly you make me so proud to be your big sister! Great article and as always absolutely beautiful artwork! I have always been both awed and inspired by your art!

  • Not only for art lovers. Great ARTicle and site.

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