Kelly Allison: contemporary urban artwork designed & painted in Bordeaux, France

Architect turned artist, Kelly Allison is an enthusiastic creator of urban paintings that stand out due to their whirlpool of colour. Her artworks represent a blend of everyday sights with the artist’s poetic view of them – a seemingly perfect formula Kelly has been successfully applying to tell the stories of the cities on her canvases.

Depsite being busy due to her departure for New York where her work was exhibited as part of the Clio Art Fair from 7, March till 10, March, Kelly has generously agreed to provide answers to the questions that I was eager to ask her.

Bordeaux-based artist of Canadian origin Kelly Allison

The architecture of what city prevails in your paintings? Why is that city a source of inspiration for you?

As a Canadian, coming from a new world country, I’m spontaneously attracted to what is more unknown to me, the old-world cities ; the grandeur of the architecture, the cultural impact and the unyielding façades of the buildings.

I have painted many urban works of Bordeaux, where I live today, as it is a natural point of reference. However, today, I would say that my work isn’t exclusive to any city.

Pont de pierre, Bordeaux
acrylic on canvas

Can you paint a city without ever visiting it? How do you capture its vibe, then?

Yes I can paint cities I have never visited, but I question whether those works have the same amount of emotional integrity.

I’m often commissioned to paint cities that I have never visited. I try to fuel these creations using the collectors account of their experience and their emotional connection to the place. I can’t reproduce a vibe that I have never felt, but I can try to translate the story onto the canvas.

What are some of the current projects you are engaged in?

This year has already been of a whirlwind of diverse projects and I’m delighted!

I’m working on an exciting project with other creatives in Bordeaux called the ‘Troisième Chapeau’ which is a multidisciplinary project involving numerous artists representing an array of art forms (music, dance, film, theatre, composition, illustration..). This is our 3rd venture together. We represent 9 different countries but we all live in Bordeaux and all share a mutual passion to create. We work simultaneously or consecutively on a given theme and the results are then shared as a performance or film.

Also, I’ve been commissioned by a new boutique opening soon in Bordeaux to create small original artworks to be integrated into unique art cards. I will be producing 10 new pieces a month, which is a fantastic new challenge.

Lefkada, Greece
acrylic & ink on canvas

What’s the life of an artist like? What do you like & dislike about your profession?

Like many freelance professionals, the life of an artist is a roller coaster of emotions, of ups and downs.

There is no fixed income, there are many moments of doubt and fatigue. I find it difficult to find time for all aspects of the business:the marketing, communication, production, accounting…etc! These are probably the most challenging aspects.

However, from my perspective, all of these negatives are more than compensated by all the positives!
The freedom to create, the joy in sharing your art form, the human connections, the possibilities and the excitement of not knowing what may come!

If you weren’t an artist, what profession would you most likely choose?

I wouldn’t! I’ve been an architect, a teacher, a translator and today I’m an artist 🙂

How can you make sure the buyer who orders a customised piece will like the result of your work? Does the artist’s vision always correspond to that of the customer?

You can never be sure.

I try to stay close to the collector during the entire process by involving them. I may share  with them the sketches, colour schemes, details… I then validate the painting either on-site or with photos. Sometimes colours or details need to be re-worked following the feedback.

Can you tell the difference between Persian blue, Powder blue, and Prussian blue? Is it important for an artist to be able to distinguish between all the shades of various colours?

No and Yes!!! I don’t think that knowing the chromatic colour scale by heart is important. Skill sets vary widely between artists. The common denominator for artists is perhaps simply the need to create and the desire to share their art-form.

Cot, Cartago, Costa Rica
acrylic & ink on canvas

Interested in learning more about the artist or getting in touch with her? Here is where you can find Kelly Allison and more of her works:

Author: ana_keats

Having originally been born in Siberia, Russia, I ended up living in a very different environment of Bordeaux, France. It is where my chance encounters with talented people, a variety of cultural events attended, and my natural inclination towards appreciation of beauty have propelled me into creation of Approachable Art. I hope my blog will become a source of inspiration for all art lovers like myself.

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