The Block

Inspiration — 9 months ago

Process: Kelly Anna

From inception to execution.

 

Everyone has a process, from artists to designers, musicians to record labels; this process is key in shaping the final form of their work.

 

While output is often the focus, we find it fascinating to peel back layers to reveal the inspiration and techniques that lead to an individual’s creative style. Shrouded in mystery or arbitrary in nature when viewed by an outside observer, there’s usually much more going on than can be seen at first glance.

 

Kicking off a new series in which we dive into an artist’s process is Kelly Anna; the London-based artist’s bold colours have already caught the eye of Beyonce and her client list is just as impressive with big names such as Nike and Equinox under her belt.

 

We asked Kelly to define her workflow through a series of objects, spaces and designs that trace and track her creative process.

 

Kelly Anna’s ‘Le Sport’ tee is available here for a limited time only.

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Kelly Anna
Kelly Anna

Each of the things you’ll find in my studio are things that give me the push to get back into it every day. It can be really hard as a freelancer to stay motivated all the time! Sometimes it comes with fire and other times you need a little push to remind you why you’re here. These are the things that do that for me.

Greek Vases

I am a little bit obsessed with Greek mythology; a lot of my inspiration is taken from Greek vases. I love the static like figures, even though they are so still, they have so much movement, energy and character. There’s something I love about figuring out the stories behind each of them.

We get swept up into believing that others know our work more than we do.

The Greek Vase: Art Of The Storyteller
The Greek Vase: Art Of The Storyteller

Female Form

Most of my inspiration comes from shape alone. That’s why I’m so obsessed with the female form. There are so many shapes and curves to play with. I’ve always loved the natural curves in the human body and the feeling I get when I sketch a figure. My father is an incredible figurative artist so I guess I learned to appreciate the form from a young age.

Kelly Anna painting
Kelly Anna painting

I’ve always loved the natural curves in the human body and the feeling I get when I sketch a figure.

Mattise

Another of my favourite things are my Mattise books. Sometimes when if feel boxed in during the development process, his books will always pull me out of this. He was so playful in his works and that’s what I always revert back to. I like my work to have its meaning and portray strong figures but being playful is important, I want people to look at my work and feel a sense of release, just like I do when I look at my favourite artists.

Matisse Cut Outs
Matisse Cut Outs

Pencil Case

My pencil case is with me wherever I go. It’s just a black leather satchel that I got for £6.  But it’s my most important possession. It holds all my favourite pencils and pens. Every piece of work starts from a sketch on paper. Sometimes I’ll be out and will just feel the urge to sketch something down.

Kelly Anna Studio Space
Kelly Anna Studio Space

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, like a lot of other women artist throughout history, was so dominating; I’ve got a lot of books on her. I love the positions she creates within her self portraits, they’re so strong and assertive. The confidence she portrayed as a woman alone is enough to make me love her.

Kelly Anna studio
Kelly Anna studio

That’s what I’m reaching for moving forward; to only create visuals that I feel happy creating.

Original artwork by Kelly Anna
Original artwork by Kelly Anna


Screen prints

Above is one of the screenprints for my first solo show last summer. I worked with an incredible screen printer to create the piece which was huge, 145cm x 110cm. This piece was created near the end of my creative process for the show. It was at a point in my development where I felt I really needed to loosen up. Some of the pieces I was creating didn’t feel quite right, so I started playing around with collage paper pieces. I then started playing around with the shapes and throwing them together, basically having lots of fun with composition. I wanted this strong figure to be the centrepiece to the image, I wanted her to hold her own. And I feel like she does.  The end result was one of freedom and energy. The Matisse collage book helped me a lot during this moment.

Matisse Cut-outs
Matisse Cut-outs

I like my work to have a meaning and portray strong figures.

Another piece is one I recently created for my trip to NYC in March. I have a special project being released there so I wanted to give people a sneak peek.

Original artwork by Kelly Anna
Original artwork by Kelly Anna

I felt really happy with when I put this piece out into the world. Most of the time I’m really critical of my own work. I get that from my dad who is also the same!

Kelly Anna studio
Kelly Anna studio

However, I had so much fun creating it that these thoughts didn’t even enter, that’s what I am reaching for moving forward; to only create visuals that I feel happy creating. Sometimes we get swept up into believing that others know our work more than we do, but as the artist, you should be the one to tell them what’s next.

Kelly Anna studio
Kelly Anna studio

Kelly Anna’s ‘Le Sport’ tee is available here for a limited time only.