Austin, Texas, United States
Mediums: digital, mixed media
Style: surreal, abstract
Favorite Quote: “Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Favorite Book: anything by John Irving
Favorite Movie: Wild at Heart, It’s a Wonderful Life, Forest Gump
Expecting to Fly © Leslie Kell
The wings are comprised of photos of prisms, and the backgrounds are images captured from the flowing water of Wimberley and central Texas treetop canopies.
The titles for this collection are all inspired by songs with references to flight. "Expecting to Fly" is a song by Neil Young.
The experience that I create with my art is a transformative one.
I inspire the senses and create a sense of wonder, movement and sound. I’ve created virtual environments where my photographic images are transformed as they are placed into the spaces and patterns of my designs.
Please tell us about your first experience creating.
4th grade. There was girl that could draw horses really well. So I gave it a try too and never looked back.
What music do you like to have playing while creating art?
Kate Bush, Warren Zevon, Grateful Dead.
Break on Through © Leslie Kell
This composition was inspired by the flowing limbs of the Crepe Myrtles in my back yard. The architectural photos were taken in the interior of Austin City Hall.
The inspiration for the title comes from “Break On Through” by the Doors.
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I work in creative marketing for a large textbook publisher. I create campaigns, branding, logos and other marketing materials. I also freelance illustration and graphic design.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
When you stand before my artwork I hope you sense that “Wow” moment that I strive to create. I want the images to engage your mind and imagination and make it difficult to look away. Every time you experience the artwork, I hope it offers a new visual journey.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:
The creation of these works begins with the photography, which is done at various events and locations. Each piece may involve six or more photographs that are selected based on theme, location, color or texture. The overall design is developed through a series of sketches and drawings. The photos are digitally assembled into the design and are transformed into the artwork.
Big Yellow Taxi © Leslie Kell
The background photo was taken at a below street level water taxi stand in Chicago. The inspiration for the title comes from "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell.
This is not where the story ends though. Once the digital process is complete, a mixed media piece is created. An archival canvas is printed and paint and textural elements are added. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the precise digital construction with the unpredictable and spontaneous paint splatters. It makes each piece unique and original. Finally, the artwork is finished with three-dimensional accents to create a sculptural presentation that reaches beyond the bounds of the canvas.
The works are grouped into collections based on a favorite artist or song, then each piece is named from a lyrical phrase relating to the collection theme.
What things inspire you to create art?
There are recurring themes throughout my work of water, light, and reflection. The manner in which these elements interact and alter what we perceive fascinates me. It’s almost as if the angle of a light beam or a fleeting reflection can create an alternate reality for a brief time as it passes through our awareness. The desire to capture that instant moment feeds my creative spirit.
What exhibitions have you had?
I have been included and featured in many juried group shows. Among my solo shows, one of the most exciting was a large exhibition at the Jung Center in the museum district in Houston. I participate in the occasional festival and exhibits through the art associations I have memberships.
Tree Museum © Leslie Kell
The images used in this piece are part the 11-story Fort Worth Convention Center Parking Garage.
I've used photos of stained glass to enhance the cathedral motif.
The inspiration for the title comes from "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell.
Look closely, there are spirits at play.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
I’ve sold pieces at art festivals and through exhibits. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to create a few commissioned pieces.
How do you promote your art on the internet?
Tell us about influences
M.C. Escher, Frida Kalo
Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them:
Greta Olivas. I admire her tenacity and self-promotion techniques, as well as her art.
Inside Down © Leslie Kell
This series features birds in flight and passing shadows. It’s meant to capture that instant of realization, just before it changes and becomes something else.
The titles for this collection are inspired by "Passenger" by the Grateful Dead.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
It’s tempting, but no, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
I have a vision of what I want my work to be. I plan to keep pursuing that vision.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
When you feel like giving up, that is exactly the time to dig deep and keep going.
Austin, Texas, United States