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Conversations with Kelly Marie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Marie.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I go by @messyeverafter online, not because my art is messy, but because life and creativity is. For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to art, but I also ran from it many times in my life. I took every art class I could in high school, but was determined not to pursue art professionally in adulthood to avoid the starving artist stereotype. I entered college with the intention of finding a “real job” with a steady paycheck in the science field. Though, that didn’t last long. I abandoned my biochemistry major after one semester and enrolled in more art classes. Art always pulls me back in.

In 2010, I attempted to sell my work at local art fairs, but failed miserably at making any sort of sustainable income from art for years. I had no idea what I was doing and this led me to jump between traditional employment and art every few months until 2016 when I decided yet again to pursue art full-time–but this time it stuck. I still didn’t know what I was doing at the time, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

Six years later, I’m in a place I didn’t know was possible for me. I’ve packed in a lot of learning and failing since pursuing art full-time and I’m always happy to share the ups and downs with the arts community through my social media and my blog. The best part is that I’m only just getting started.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Oh gosh, no. This road has been very bumpy. That’s one of the best and worst parts about committing to a creative career. To commit to being an artist is one thing. You can find comfort in the hobby of painting something with no expectation for it to amount to anything–but to commit to making money from it is another thing entirely. There is no paved path to take as a professional artist, and there is no guarantee you’ll even make it. I’ve realized recently that being an artist or creator means willingly subjecting yourself to almost constant discomfort. Lucky for me, it’s the kind of discomfort that drives me forward.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a 2D artist and I paint colorful saturated art embellished with intricate line work. I’m mostly known for abstract work, but I have been getting in touch with my more figurative roots again in the last year. If I had to be proud of something, it’s my tenacity to keep creating. It is really fun to see the evolution in my own style and how doodles from when I was 13 years old are coming back into my mind almost two decades later, but with years of refinement. The longer you stick with art, the more you can surprise yourself with what comes from your own hands.

In regards to what sets me apart, I’m very intentional about not comparing myself to other creators, but I can say that every creator has a unique voice and I hope my work tells a story that is authentically mine.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I was born in a small Minnesota town and spent many years loathing the winters. In 2018, I actually escaped to Oceanside, California and lived in a congested paradise for a couple of years–but it never felt like home. I couldn’t get used to palm trees. I moved to NE Minneapolis in 2021 and have a long list of reasons why I love it here. The Minnesotan vibe suits me and I need the change of seasons. I live where the arts are celebrated, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. If I had to name what I like least about living here, it’s still winter, but we wouldn’t be who we are without it.

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