The above art was created by the incredibly talented New Zealand Illustrator and photographer Kelly Thompson. Since completing her degree 4 years ago Kelly has gained exposure in several New Zealand galleries and fashion magazines. I came across her Myspace page a while back and became completely engrossed in her gorgeous illustrations. I recently asked Kelly a few questions about her art...
Dana: Well Kelly, it's almost 2009. What are your plans for your art in the next year? Will you be focusing more on photography or illustration?
Kelly: 2009 is going to be a year that I really get stuck in and push myself. I feel like I have achieved most of my smaller goals for 2008 and I feel like I need to step up and make bigger better ones! I'm excited to be taking my work over for three Australian shows throughout the year which is a first for me, eek exciting! I'd love to get some over to America...but where to start?? I usually end up focusing on photography and illustration quite equally. My photography pays my bills and my drawing is not quite at that point yet, but trying! I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head and think I need to shake it out and push my illustration further/experiment.
D: Your art has such a remarkable style and edge to it. I see both Gustav Klimt and Patrick Nagel in your work. Who are some artists that you find inspiring?
K: Everyone always says Klimt and I never really see it but I'm grateful for the compliment as his work is fantastic! I try not to look too much at the work of others as I draw as I don't want to be influenced by them too much. I love the work of kitsch artist J.H Lynch. Apparently there is a Lynch in Aus too but I mean the one from the 50s! I don't know if you guys know of him in The States? I have a few of his works. He always painted these fantastic curvy brown skinned babes who stare at you from across the room. I also love the work of fashion illustrator Richard Gray and this amazing artist called Aya Kato whom I know nothing about but she just amazes me with the amount of detail... makes me feel lazy!
D: Your illustrations are so full of life. Do you prefer working with live models or photographs when you are creating these images?
K: I'm way too slow to draw from a live model! I like to do my washing then draw then make a sandwich and draw some more. A model would hate me. Luckily, because I work as a photographer I have access to some super hot models so when I do a shoot I always take some extra snaps to draw from as well.
D: Your work had been featured in several publications over there in New Zealand: Pulp magazine, Karen magazine, Fluro magazine, and Lucire magazine. What other magazines would you love to get a chance to work with? Any over here in The States?
K: I would love to one day be a grown up artist featured in the art page of Vogue, but you guys have such amazing magazines over there how could i choose! Eek, any would make me squeal with excitement... At the mo I'm reading V magazine, Pop, Wonderland... but seriously, over here I wait for the mags from the states and Europe to come and spend all my cash on them. You have to wait about three months and then they get here so late you can't even read your horoscope :)
D: You have gained exposure so quickly since finishing school. For all those budding artists out there what career moves would you attribute this great success to?
K: Ooh, I dunno if I have! Hehe. I finished uni about 4 years ago now and I still feel like nobody knows my stuff apart from my pals! I guess I've had some good exposure but I'm still poor as f*** and have prints to sell ... I think most of the exposure I've had has come from pure harassment! Sometimes at night time I'm sitting at home and get a surge of motivation and just email EVERYBODY and occasionally someone emails back saying "we like your stuff do you want to do a page for our mag?". That's fun, hopefully soon I wont have to harass and that will just happen!
Check out Kelly's Website at www.kellythompson.co.nz . Her site has images of her fashion photography, illustrations and even prints available for purchase. And if you are looking for an incredible Christmas gift idea Kelly can even create a one of a kind illustration from a photograph.
Thanks Kelly! Good luck with the Australia shows. Looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve for us in the upcoming year!