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Jay Kelly

Jay Kelly

“Out of Context” Photorealistic Collage Series

I start with a source image that catches my eye for its balance, depth, beauty, romance and overall visual intrigue. Sometimes I find these images in books or magazines, other times the source will be one of my own photographs. Once I have chosen a particular image, I explore different sizing and crops. I then proceed to the formidable task of recreating it out of various bits of paper.

I use a range of collage material for their varied tones and content. For printed material, I use vintage magazines, novels (both classics and the more obscure) and art history books. Depending on the age, condition and yellowing of the old book pages, I am able to get various shades of whites and tans. I also use a selection of different shades of black paper stock along with a range of hand dyed paper to round out my color palette. The process is labor intensive as I hand tear and glue each piece to slowly build shadows and highlights. Eventually when the overall image takes shape, I take several trips across the studio to view the collage through squinted eyes to check proportions and make sure the shading all feels right. The bits of paper tend to get smaller and smaller as the piece nears completion.

Once the collage is complete, I seal everything in a coat of gel medium and then under a thick coat of glossy resin adding a visual polish and uniting the varied elements into one cohesive work. Each of their titles comes from text that has found its way into the finished piece.

I chose to paint with paper and various printed materials in order to achieve a unique depth to my work. By allowing the viewer to first see a complete, near photorealistic image from a distance, then at a closer look to explore the many individual textures and bits of text, I am able to add layers of meaning to each piece. I love the effect that thousands of little bits of paper, all taken out of context, come together to create something new. I feel art should inspire, transport and hopefully awe the viewer, that is certainly my intention with this series of collage.

I feel art should inspire, transport and hopefully awe the viewer, that is certainly my intention with this series of collage.
Jay Kelly

JK-studio3-300I use a combination of my own photography and images carefully collected from vintage magazines, books and old product packaging. I assemble this array of visuals into asymmetrically balanced grids that I color with a palette of warm earth tones accented by bold hits of vibrant color. The elements are tied together with clippings of found text that I include to open up the narrative possibilities, telling stories of memories and dreams, love and heartbreak, achievements and expectations. Each piece is sealed under a thick glossy coat of resin, adding a visual polish and uniting the varied elements into one cohesive work.

While my method is complex – using photography, found materials, paint and resin – my goal is simple: emotion. I don’t pretend we have all had the same experiences throughout our varied lives, but I do believe we experience common emotions. I strive to tap into these shared feelings to push viewers beyond merely relating to an image but to call them ultimately to feel something inside that is real.