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What is it that fuels your passion for art? Can you trace your passion back to an early age or is it something that was awakened in you later in life? How do you continue to fan the flame? My guest is artist Kelli Vance. Kelli is a figurative artist from Texas, she got her BFA from the University of North Texas and her MFA from the University of Houston. Kelli’s current paintings of women explore spirituality and invite the viewer to decipher their meaning. In our conversation, we discuss how Kelli fuels her passion for art, where her ideas come from, how she brings her vision to life with the help of friends who model for her, and so much more. I can’t wait for you to hear Kelli’s story and her fascinating perspective.
Falling in love with creating art.
Do you remember that “moment” when everything clicked for you and you just fell in love with making art? If you didn’t have a specific moment, what was it that pushed you to start your journey as an artist? Kelli Vance and I had a wonderful discussion where we both took the time to share how we both had a moment where everything clicked for us. It was really exciting to hear from a peer who had a similar experience as I did. We both marveled at the fact that there was nothing spectacular about the assignments that we were given but we fell in love with craft all the same.
The difficulty of wrestling with personal expectations.
Holding to high standards and rigorous expectations for yourself can really be an asset that keeps you focused and striving to create good art. However, there is often another side to that coin. In our conversation, Kelli Vance and I discuss our relationship with personal expectations and how they’ve helped and hindered us over the years. We also touch on a sort of antidote to our high expectations, getting around other artists who can look at our work and assure us that we don’t have to critique every little thing along the way. What has been your relationship with personal standards and expectations?
Stoking the flames of passion for art.
As with many things in life, the longer you live with something, the more ordinary it begins to feel. Something that once took your breath away, can easily be lost to boredom or indifference. What have you done to keep the passion for art alive in your mind? How do you keep that flame lit after so many years? My guest, Kelli Vance opened up in our conversation and shared with me a few examples of what she does to keep stoking the flames of passion for art in her life. One aspect that she mentioned is how she is moved by art shows like the one she recently viewed in LA. Kelli also says that getting away and exploring nature has a rejuvenating effect on her creative spirit. What can you learn from Kelli’s story? What helps you keep your passion alive for art?
Nurturing a habit of curiosity.
It is so fascinating to hear all the different responses from all my guests when they talk about habits that have helped them succeed as artists. Kelli Vance says that the habit of curiosity is the one habit that has helped her grow and find success in her career. She describes herself as constantly curious, researching ideas, talking through them with friends and cultivating an ever-present awareness of things all around her. Kelli also points to a specific friendship she has with a fellow painter who has challenged her and acted as a sounding board for all of her creative ideas. What habits have helped you on your journey? What role has curiosity played in your development as an artist?
Outline of This Episode
- [1:00] I introduce my guest, Kelli Vance.
- [3:00] How Kelli got started as an artist.
- [9:00] Kelli and I talk about that “moment” when we fell in love with creating art.
- [13:00] Kelli talks about her time in Roswell as an art resident.
- [17:00] What is Kelli working on right now?
- [20:00] Having friends participate as models.
- [24:00] A moment of personal success for Kelli and responding to challenges.
- [29:00] Wrestling with personal expectations.
- [32:00] What keeps Kelli excited and passionate about art?
- [36:30] Artwork that Kelli would love to own.
- [38:00] Kelli’s relationship with fiction.
- [42:00] The habit of curiosity.
- [43:30] Why Kelli doesn’t keep any of her artwork around.
- [45:30] Just make the painting.
Other artists mentioned on this episode
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- Menil Collection
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
- Haruki Murakami