ARTIST CHAT: KELLY O'CONNOR
Name: Kelly O'Connor
Location: San Antonio, TX
Works available from: David Shelton Gallery
For those who don’t know your work, can you describe your artistic approach and creative process?
I am interested in revealing greater truths behind the narratives we consume. Many of the subject matter I'm preoccupied with is from pop culture giants such as Disney and American folklore such as the Wizard of Oz.
Have you been able to find inspiration and think creatively during this time? If so, where and how?
Absolutely, my creative energy has been pouring out of me. I had been so consumed by my busy lifestyle as a mother, museum administrator and artist. This time at home has helped me have more patience and focus for my studio practice.
What are you working on right now? How has the pandemic affected your work?
I just completed a major site-specific commission for the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. I was so lucky to have this project lined up right before the pandemic grounded us. I was able to dedicate my time and energy to this important opportunity. The work is now installed at the museum and is open for the public to see.
What’s on your watch list?
Baskets on Hulu with Zach Galifianakis and Fortune Feimster's stand up special on Netflix. I feel like there are a lot of similarities between the craft and creativity of being a comic and being an artist- especially how your personal experience and social values impact the product you create.
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
My boyfriend, he is one of the most animated people I know. There has been more than one occasion that he has made a beverage shoot out my nose when laughing.
Who and/or what are your artistic influences?
Some of my artistic influences include Tony Feher, Arturo Herrera, Robyn O'Neil and Linda Pace. Each of these artists I have had a chance to work with and understand their practice at an intimate level.
Where do you go when you are looking for inspiration or new ideas?
I look at images of the places that have given me happiness from my past. Some examples include Disneyland, Yellowstone and swimming pools in general.
What have you changed your mind about recently?
I think I have greatly shifted my mindset lately. Last year at this time I was working full throttle all the time. I was completing my MBA, in the process of opening a new museum (Ruby City), attending multiple social events in a week and raising two toddlers. I feel like I'm enjoying my life a lot more now instead of being too focused checking items off my list so to speak.
Are there any movies, music, podcasts, publications, or works of art that have made a big impact on you recently? If so, why?
I just watched Midsommar, 2019 by Ari Aster- I was blown away by the juxtaposition of beauty and darkness. I feel so drawn to want to recreate this environment or live there while at the same time deeply psychologically disturbed by the events that transpire in the movie.
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
Alcohol, LOL what can I say I like to make pretty cocktails. During quarantine I really upped my game and started recreating some of my favorites from my recent travels to Vietnam, Mexico City and London. My favorite one is a Mezcal drink with watermelon juice and hibiscus liquor. You finish it off with a scoop of lemon sorbet and a sprig of Rosemary- YUMMY! You can see all my quarantine cocktails on my insta stories.
What is the best thing you have cooked recently?
Ohh cooking is something I also have the patience for lately. I made some excellent mussels and beef short rib- both super easy and inexpensive.
What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for?
Crystal Pool, which is a work from 2011- it was a defining piece in my career where I first started incorporating a process I developed of inlaying geometric patterns. Also, I love the simplicity of the piece and there is a nice balance of dark and light.
What do you miss the most from pre-pandemic days?
I feel like I've been able to make the most out of this new normal. I am happy to have this time to slow down and be with my boyfriend, family and friends. I do miss Ruby City where I work. We had just opened to the public, it’s such a magical place that brings me a lot of joy.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My large scale installation at the McNay Art Museum for their grand entrance!