Apr. 23, 2019

Photo Credit: Lisa Wagner

Mel Kelly, an artist from Raymore Missouri, uses a dye to bring vibrant hues and earthy textures together to tell a story of self-empowerment. The end result is a piece of art that looks like an old world map.

“I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember, but the second that dye hit the raw canvas I remember whispering a long slow “woah.” I knew I finally found a little piece of magic and I had to share it with the world,” Mel Kelly said.

The technique involves hand-dyeing unprimed cotton canvas by pouring and painting on the dye in a manner resembling rivers and streams. After letting it rest for several hours, the water evaporates leaving just the pigments behind.

“The process has to be done outside, which means I have the elements to account for. I’ve got the grass under the canvas creating texture, the wind will pick up the dye and carry it along and the sun (or lack of) determines dry time. Not to mention gravity which pulls the dye around. Ultimately, the water goes where it wants to go,” Kelly said. “It’s incredible because I feel like each piece is almost a collaboration with nature itself.”

Kelly’s fine art map series is called “Get Lost.” The collection focuses on adventure, freedom and self-empowerment.

“My goal with this series is to get you excited about your own life,” Kelly said. “We as human beings have the unique ability to create whatever life we want. “Getting lost” is about allowing yourself to stop and figure out what that life looks like. Once you know, you can map it out and go. ”

Mel Kelly’s art will be available for purchase this Friday from 5-9 p.m. at GOT Art Gallery in downtown Lee’s Summit during the Fourth Friday Art Walk. It will remain available at the gallery through the end of May. You can learn more about Mel Kelly and the “Get Lost” series at https://www.melkellyart.com.