We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Kelly Merkur. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Kelly below.
Kelly, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Do you wish you had waited to pursue your creative career or do you wish you had started sooner?
I try not to live with “what ifs”. I always knew I was going to do something creative. School was never easy for me, but I always thrived in my art classes. I thought I wanted to go into interior design then ended up changing my major to textile design. The best part about a fine arts degree is that I had the opportunity to study a variety of mediums. The one medium that I shied away from was painting. I think I was intimidated. Once in the work force I worked as a textile designer & buyer for a wholesale fabric company. Then left the work force to raise my two daughters. As my girls are almost grown & out of the house I started the process of figuring out what I want to do with my life. Rediscovering my creative side has been transformative.
I don’t wish for anything different. I am so grateful for this life & know that I’m on the right path.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My work is authentically me. I work in color palettes that speak to me. I paint what I connect to & it seems that my work connects with other people as well.
When I began painting I started painting pet portraits. I started painting them in acrylic on canvas, but have transitioned to doing most of my portraits in watercolor on paper. It has a more current feel & I’m able to offer them at a more affordable price point. They are thoughtful gifts for those pet lovers.
Then in an effort to expand my work & loosen up my style I explored abstract painting. I love experimenting with color, composition & texture. It’s in these moments of painting that I really feel free to play, to make mistakes & hopefully along the way create a successful piece.
A few years ago I painted a huge heart for my family. Using the same techniques of layering texture, color and mark making that I use to create my abstract work. Towards the end of the painting I got everyone involved. I had each member of my family come in and make their own marks within the heart. It has become our family coat of arms so to speak. Since that time I have completed other commissioned family hearts for local clients. They also were able to put their unique marks & names within their hearts. Each piece will hopefully be a heirloom for their families. I love the idea that my work offers those families something special and personal.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
As artists we have so many avenues for self-promotion that didn’t exist a few years ago. From Instagram to TikTok, artists aren’t completely dependent on getting our work into galleries any longer in order to have successful careers, although that would be amazing too! The struggle, for me at least, is all of the marketing, content creation & business hustle. Those practices are not in my wheel house. If I could just spend my days painting and creating art I would be thrilled! Having to remember to record myself painting & document it all in a creative entertaining way for social media is hard. Since I am a one-woman operation I am balancing my time doing all of it & probably not doing it very well at times. However, I’m so grateful that those avenues exist. They have changed the entire game & allowed so many of us make our way.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
The most rewarding part is when I get to experience people emotionally connecting to my work. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I recently had a client come to my studio bc she had seen one of my posts on Instagram. Something about my piece “Bloom” had resonated with her & the struggles that she had overcome in her life. In terms of my abstract work. it’s not about finding recognizable imagery within the piece, but rather evoking an emotion. Hopefully some of those emotions are of ones joy, strength, and determination.
- Website: https://www.kellymerkurart.com/
- Instagram: @kellymerkurart @kellymerkurpet @heartartwear
- Facebook: Kelly Merkur Art
- Other: TikTok @kellymerkurart
So You by Erica Sue/ Erica Schmelzer