On a T-shirt, mural or skateboard, you've probably seen Kelli Murray's art somewhere around San Diego. Kelli discusses her influences, home life and how she balances her painting with her day job as a graphic designer.
Sezio: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Kelli: I am an illustrator, painter, and graphic designer. As far as painting goes, I like to mix grimey background sprays and textures with more simple characters and defined lines. I like my work to portray emotion and "speak" to the heart of the viewer.
Sezio: How long have you been painting in your current style..?
Kelli: I've been drawing for as long as I can remember but it wasn't until about 3 years ago that I first started painting. I was first inspired by a good friend of mine who was deep into the graffiti scene. I grew to love all forms of street art... and after picking up a few techniques from him, I began to develop a style of painting to call my own. Originally inspired by graffiti artists, particularly women artists like Fafi, Miss Van and Swoon, I tried to merge the rough "street" techniques that I loved, into what i already knew and considered my strength... that is illustration and character drawing.
Sezio: How do you balance your personal art with your job?
Kelli: I try my best to separate my personal art with my graphic design. Although they are likely to fall hand in hand to some degree. The character style and simple lines that distinguish the look of my paintings is not the way i always design. Especially when it comes to Jedidiah. As a graphic designer, I have learned to morph my style of art to fit a number of "looks". You have to know how to follow trends and mix up the look and feel of the graphics to appeal to the customer. At Jedidiah, I work with several freelance graphic designers who contribute to the line each season, helping keep the art fresh and original.
Sezio: What else do you make or create..?
Kelli: I love to sew. I've always enjoyed buying old clothes from thrift/vintage stores, cutting them up and making something new. Even old clutches and handbags, painting them or customizing them with my art. And recently I have picked up a knack for revamping old furniture pieces...
I've worked with a number of different bands in designing their merchandise and/or album art. A few being Bedford Grove, Switchfoot, Dispatch, Braddigan, Trevor Davis, Joan the Police Woman.
I've also been lucky enough to work with Osiris Shoes in creating a handful of custom artist series shoes for their women's line. As well as GFH Skateboards in creating several graphics for their skate decks.
Sezio: What would you do if you had a year off?
Kelli: Travel. There are so many places i would love to visit and cultures to experience. Just me and my sketchbook and the whole world to see. Now that would be amazing.
Sezio: Where would you live outside of the US?
Kelli: I visited Japan last summer and fell in love with Tokyo. I think i would enjoy living there for a season of my life... but not forever. Somewhere tropical like Bali or Fiji wouldn't be so bad either :)
Sezio: Describe a normal weekend for you...
Kelli: Hmmmm... I feel like in my life there is never a "normal" weekend. There's always something going on, but for the most part I'll paint. Weekends are the only time I really have to put in some solid paint time (aside from my occasional midnight to 3am sessions during the work week). I like to get out in the sun and do something active; beach, bike ride, shopping even counts. I like to go to shows if a good band is playing or just hang out with my friends.
Thanks to Jedidiah and Jonathan Foster for sharing this video with us...
Check out the Photo Gallery for more of Kelli's art.