Saturday, 4 May 2013

INTERVIEW: Kelly Louise Judd

Full of allegory and whimsy and spiced with a touch of subtle menace, Kelly Louise Judd's illustrations seem reminiscent of Edwardian Era imagery from Central and Eastern Europe as well as pre-industrial wildlife documentation. Combining natural and fairytale elements, her creations are at once familiar yet mysterious. Adding to the natural element, her illustrations feel as if they've been crafted from wood and the colour palette is earthy and subdued.

Kelly Louise Judd recieved a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2002. She continues to live in Kansas City where she spends her time painting, illustrating, gardening, and playing the harp. She is deeply inspired by folklore, ghost stories, psychology, Victorian literature and art, Northern Renaissance art, and flora and fauna.

Very graciously, Kelly has agreed to answer a few questions and correct me on some of my misconceptions and provide some insight to her work. All images provided with the kind consent of Kelly Louise Judd.

How important would you say narrative and allegory are in your works?
It is very important to me. I feel most drawn to art that tells a story and holds symbolism. I’m interested in the underlying stories of life. The house may be quiet and the outside might feel still, but at the same time the house is full of ghosts, and just outside the window a hummingbird’s wings are flapping 50 times per second. Nothing is as calm as its surface, and this is often a starting point for me.

Would you pick one of your works and explain the process that went into its creation and the influences that went into it?
The Peacock and the Crane was inspired by the Aesop’s Fable of the same name. I’d been doing some other works that involved peacocks and cranes separately, so I felt like it was time to do a piece focused on the two together. I wanted them to be together in the painting, but also wanted it to feel as though they were going about in two different worlds. So, the peacock walks on roses, while the crane walks lower on a peacock tail rug.

From the name "Swanbones" to their appearance across a number of your works, birds play a significant role. What do birds signify to you and how would you say you make use of them in your work?
In my work I tend to think of birds as fragile messengers. They might have a warning to deliver or something that needs to be taken away when they leave.

What artists would you say you admire the most and have had the greatest influence on you and why?
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the work of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painters. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, and Hugo Van Der Goes are a few of my favorites. I think they have most influenced me in the way I think about symbolism and also in my color palette.

I’ve also been very inspired by the Golden age of Illustration. I love the work of Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, Helen Stratton, and Walter Crane, among so many others.

Which books, films or other media do you enjoy and inspire you?
I read a lot of Victorian literature, which always tends to bleed into my work. I like to read folk tales from all over the world. I’m also inspired by authors like Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers.

Sometimes while I’m working I’ll put on a documentary. The topics of these can be about anything from historical gardening to leprosy.

Kelly Louise Judd
Kelly Louise Judd (Etsy)
Kelly Louise Judd (Facebook)
Kelly Louise Judd (Art Out There)
Kelly Louise Judd (Beautiful Decay)
The Mythic Art of Kelly Louise Judd (eclectix)

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