Artist Statement by Leighton Kelly
To create a statement as an artist has always been a difficult task for me. I am of two minds on the whole concept of what defines “Art" or who an “Artist" is. There are times throughout my week in which i set aside a few days for not “Being" anything at all. Being an empty vessel (see: lazy) helps cleanse the pallet from the tedious burden of being anything at all. Though, I’ll admit, on the grand scale of things being called an “Artist” has been a most reoccurring theme. So I’ll put on that hat and try something new: to attempt to write a statement on what this Solo/Group Exhibition, All of the Things, could possibly be about.
Some time ago, I decided to take a sabbatical from producing artwork for public viewing. I had been stubbornly making a piece of art every day and posting it on a blog I called “Day-one 2012”. After two straight years of persistent posting, I began to feel like I was not making "The Arts” for the right reasons. At that time, I didn’t even know what the "Right Reasons" were but I knew that doing it for the ”Likes” wasn’t it. To remedy this conundrum I began to make Art with the intention that I would not show it to anyone, ever. Really, it was an experiment just to see if I actually liked making it in the first place. It’s a peculiar fact in this world that how we label ourselves, or are labeled by others, rarely suits who we really are. It turns out that not only did I love to make “the Art" but mysteriously, without the guiding hand of the public encouragement or discouragement, my output increased like a broken faucet.
As a consequence, I discovered a plethora of new mediums, styles, concepts, and perspectives that I had never even considered before. The byproduct of this was that my home became a makeshift museum and the walls began to sag with the weight of a new and unusual menagerie. When people did come by to visit, I began to become increasingly encouraged by them to present these works to the public. One thing led to another, and I was approached by our friends at Athen B Gallery to do a solo show of “All Of The Things” that I had been hoarding away in my laboratory. I accepted the invitation and let myself know that all the things we had planned on never showing anyone, ever, were going to be presented to the public on July 15th 2017. I took the news as well as can be expected.
It was only practical to call it a Solo/Group Exhibition. In my time experimenting with any new idea that swept through my mind, a new voice and theme emerged with each creative obsession. All of which I recognized as being facets of one complex prism of my experience of being an “Artist”, while the works maintained unique vocal tones unto themselves. Perhaps, to the untrained eye, all of the series in this exhibition may all look quite different from each other, but since they all came from my “Self”, the subtitle, "Solo/Group” seemed most accurate
All that being said, if I had to give myself a style or medium with which I could identify, it would be "Palette Cleansing". Or rather, Cleansing my Palate from whatever style or medium I had been so fully absorbed with previously, then switching tracks to something totally new, has been the most reoccurring theme in my process. I would get into one medium for a while, and then, once I had absorbed everything I needed to know about it, move on to another. I could go from Painting, Sculpture, Illustration, Bricolage, Robotics, Erotic Collage, Weaponized Fruit Modification, Demonstrative Ranting, and back to Sculpture again without much concern for a solitary focus on one single Art Form. If I was moved to do it, I did it, until I was done with it. Thus I found myself surrounded by All of the Things with nowhere to go. So, now they all want out. For better or worse, you can see them for yourselves in all their multitudinous glory…. Or do something else. It’s your life.
Join us for the opening reception of “All Of The Things” by Leighton Kelly on July 15th at 7pm in Oakland at Athen B. Gallery. We’re conveniently located at 1525 Webster St. just off both 12th and 19th Street Bart Stations in Downtown Oakland. To be added to the collectors preview being sent out next week contact email@example.com.
Leighton Kelly Bio
One winter day I got birthed into this mortal coil. It was such a monumental experience I blocked it out completely and to this day still cannot recall the event. However, from trusted sources I was told that soon after learning how to use motor skills I discovered STUFF and THINGS. Slowly, I learned how to turn some Things into new Stuff with those very same motor skills. Thanks to the encouragement of those tasked with the tremendous chore of raising devil children, I continued to make Things out of Stuff without much external resistance. Because of that encouragement, and the feeling that making things was mostly more rewarding than the mundanities of real life. I got better at making Stuff and was given the dubious title of "an Artist" while the Things I was making became “Art”... Or so I was informed. Then, when I could do other Stuff on my own, I did, and it always had to do with making Things. I tried other types of Things that didn’t have a lot to do with actually Making anything but more to do with Observing everything which led me to many years traveling the world. Over there I discovered there was A LOT of foreign Stuff and ALL of it was being made into Things. Can you imagine my surprise? It fairly boggles the mind to even comprehend the monumental weight of our collective works pressing upon the fragile mantle of this delicate blue globe and yet we persist in our infinite. Volatile excreting like monstrous sausage geysers.
Really, tho… What else is there to do? But I digress... Out in that big bad world of ours I tried out many different and sometimes glitzy paths just to see what was so alluring. I explored the Fashion industry, Television and the Stage all of which were grand lessons of making Things from highly rarefied and often nebulous and etherial Stuff. As an aside, I wouldn’t recommend two of those paths to anyone unless you have a penchant for masochism and thankless tedium. After more time still, I put my roots back down in the Bay Area, left behind the old Stuff of the world, and began to make new Things out of all that i gathered from a life lived trying out as many ways to Exist as I could. Which has led us to this moment right now, letting you know everything you ever needed to know about the Biography of this Artist up till Now.