Artist of the week: Kelsey Merkle

Profile PicName: Kelsey Merkle
Program: Illustration
Year: Third year
Hometown: Clarence Center, New York

How did you start drawing?

As a child I grew up admiring my grandmother’s paintings. I always dreamed that one day I could be just as skilled as her. Around the age of seven I started taking art lessens outside the traditional public school system. By the time I was 10 I was taking adult classes, despite being underage because the kids classes were no longer challenging.

How would you describe the art that you create?

With every piece I explore a new technique or idea. Nothing ever feels truly finished; each drawing acts as a stepping stone to get closer to what I really want to say with my art. Currently I have been exploring portraits, I find so much is written on the face. I try to illustrate subtlety of expression, exaggerating the mood, and capturing the soul.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Much of my early inspiration came from watching my grandmother paint. Other artists include Norman Rockwell, Rembrandt, Bernini, and John Singer Sargent. These artists were able to beautifully capture the moment using exaggeration, lighting and technique.

Why did you choose illustration?

In illustration there is freedom and variety within the profession, so I won’t easily get bored or feel like my creativity is being restricted. The program also seemed like the next step to go from creating a pretty picture to making an image that tells a story or has a deeper meaning.

What artists do you look up to and why?

As well as the artists who initially inspired me I look up to my peers. Being my greatest competition, they are the ones who drive me harder to go farther. I am very competitive at heart, and I always love a challenge. I wish them all great success.

Where do you hope to work after school?

If I can financially support myself doing something creative I would be very happy. To be a Freelance Illustrator and travel continuing my study of the arts is my ultimate goal. I would also love to one day display my work in galleries outside of the US and Canada.