Kelly L Hendrickson
Minnesota, Upper Midwest, USA
Mediums: Mixed Media Textiles
I’ve always had a creative bent even when running my own company as a Meeting/Event Planner. Then I started dyeing fabrics and soon discovered Art Quilts. The world of art was calling and I could not resist jumping in with both feet. Closed down my company, built a studio and never looked back. I went from art quilts to incorporating those textiles on painted canvas. Now I’m continuing that journey by adding in found items or anything that enhances the story of a particular art work.
Please tell us about your first creative experience.
My very first creative experience of my whole life was when my grandmother gave me some fabric, some buttons, needle and thread and a pair of scissors and let me make whatever I wanted. I was seven. My great accomplishment was an apron… with no seams or hems or bindings. It buttoned in the front but the button holes were simply slashes cut into the fabric. It didn’t matter. I made it and my grandmother convinced me it was wonderful. She even wore it!
How long have you thought of yourself as an artist?
It has only been recently that I can actually say, “I’m an artist” and own that declaration. Like many others, my creative efforts were squelched in my early school years and so I stopped even thinking about exploring that possibility. But, with the support of many wonderful family and friends, I began the exploration once again. Positive feedback from the public increased the confidence that I was on the right track. Now, I’m sure of it all. Why? Because now, even if my art is rejected for a particular show or exhibition, I know I will never again abandon the thing which brings me such joy and fulfillment. I now proclaim with humility and great joy… I am an artist!
What would you like viewers to see in your art?
My art is all about the story. I want others to take a second look, to see something in a new perspective. I love it when my art resonates with their own story as well.
Tell us about your process of creation.
The process for me begins with an idea of some way to communicate a story through my chosen media. Only occasionally do I actually sketch something with pencil and paper. I have found it restrictive. The first step of bringing a piece to life is finding just the right textiles for the color and texture I want to achieve. Everything gets put on my studio island. And the auditions begin. Which pieces will work together, combine to create a whole new resource, create levels, layers and texture. Then I lay it all out, stitch, manipulate, paint, stitch some more. I mix acrylic paints for the canvas so they match or compliment the fabrics. Depending on the projected final result, I will at the appropriate time stitch all or part of a piece to the painted canvas. Found or searched for objects which support and enhance the story are added along the way. Because I really do live by my motto, “I wonder what would happen if…..”, at any point in this process the piece can change and morph. But the goal, the story, is finally told.
What things inspire you to create art?
The easier answer would be what DOESN’T inspire me to create. Nature is a constant inspiration. But sometimes inspiration can even be a play on words, or something that I heard or saw yesterday. Often I find inspiration in the theme announced in a Call for Entry. I do love a challenge. How to express my response to a theme is something I truly enjoy. My life and my journey also inspire me. Some of my pieces tell of where I was emotionally at a certain time. I’ve never had a creative block yet. I never lack for inspiration. I don’t actually seek out inspirations…they just happen and I follow wherever they might lead.
I have not yet had a solo exhibition. That is my goal for 2014, however.
In the meantime, I have participated in 9 juried shows/exhibitions and my first public art venue in the past 4 months
Fabrications 9 – Crossings Gallery, Zumbrota, MN
Paperwork In, On, and of Paper VI – Foundation Gallery, St. Charles, MO
Fork and Knife – Linus Gallery online, Los Angeles, CA
Page Turner – Some Things Looming Gallery, Reading, PA
17th Annual Primavera Springtime Celebration of the Arts, Plymouth, MN
Celebrating African Grandmothers – Royal City Gogos Canadian Tour
Fiber Arts – Poudre River Gallery, Ft. Collins, CO
Art for God’s Sake – St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church, Troy, MI
Lost and Found in Yonkers, Blue Door Gallery, Yonkers, NY
Public Art – Art on Main, Main Street Banner Project, Zumbrota, MN
I have also had 2 of my art quilts included in published work:
“Creation” published in Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts (RaNae Merrill)
“Sky Gazer” published in Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits (due out Spring 2013)
My work is also scheduled in group exhibitions in The Netherlands and England for 2013 and 2014.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
I have not sold any of my artworks as yet. I haven’t really tried until recently. I was just having so much fun and enjoyment making my art. This year however, I have dedicated to “invest” in my art career. One of the goals of that investment was to participate in at least 10 shows/exhibits at which my art will be for sale.
I have also developed my art website, blog, Facebook page, twitter and other social media. I have joined groups where I can show my art online. It will be an evaluation to see what might or might not work for me.
And I’m always finding articles and posts that have advice on this subject. I devour them all and keep what I think fits.
How do you use the internet for promoting art?
First and foremost on my Facebook fan page, Then with my website, blog, Twitter, Etsy, etc which are directed back to my website as well. I participate with groups where my art will be shown online. Two examples are MNartists.org and NewYorkartists.net. I am currently exploring a couple of other similar sites.
Claude Monet: my first exposure to non-realism art
Georgia O’Keeffe: I truly understood negative space when I attended an exhibition of her work
Grandma Moses: The example of “It’s Never Too Late” to do something new
Thomas Edison: Perseverance in the face of many, many discouragements
Please recommend another admired artist.
Georgia O’Keefe has inspired me on several levels, especially after visiting a traveling exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I knew about her wonderful flowers, of course. But this exhibit was mostly of her other work beginning with some of her very first sketches up through some of her last works. I saw an artist evolve and explore. An artist determined not to be labeled or stuck in a box. I often think of her when I’m venturing into a medium, technique or style that I don’t usually work in. Her message to me – There are no boxes!
Tell us an interesting event in your life.
I love to use found (especially rusty) items in my work. Recently I visited a gallery in a small town. When I was crossing the street to return to my car, I almost got run over because I HAD to stop and pick up a rusty metal washer in the middle of the intersection. I would like to tell you this was the only time I’ve risked life and limb for my art… but that would not be the truth.
Has there ever been anything annoying said about your art?
I guess the joy of being a fairly new artist is that so far, no one has had much of a chance to say anything annoying about my art yet. So I’m trying to think of what someone COULD say that would annoy me. I can only think that I would not like being negatively compared to another artist. I’m NOT that artist…. I’m ME. Other than that, over the years of my life, I’ve developed the understanding that not everyone is going to like me…. and that is OK.
Do you have any regrets in your art life?
My main regret is having given in to the harsh critics in my young years. I think of all the ideas I want to explore, create, experiment with and I don’t think I will live long enough to experience them all. Oh for those “lost” years. My consolation is that I believe all I have been before, up to now, has influenced who I am and how I see my world today. So those years weren’t “lost” really. They were just forming the undercurrent and background of the artist I have become. Still… I do often wonder where I would be today, what kind of art I could share, if I had been doing this all my life!
What plans do you have for your future with art?
I hope this isn’t a “Five Year Plan” type of question. I often make plans for my art but then I learn something new or discover a way to tweak a technique and I’m then following a slightly different path. So the future of my art is to follow wherever it leads. To discover new depths of expression and skill at telling the story. I hope I never “arrive”. For me, even though I know it sounds trite, the joy and fulfillment is found in the journey.
Would you like to share some advice for emerging artists?
My advice would be to do what brings you a full heart and soul. Make art you love. If a piece never sold, would you be happy keeping it? Would it mean something to you?
Your heart and passion will show in your art. Those who are open to sharing that heart and passion will enjoy your art. Those who don’t…. well they have their own path.