Q&A with Kelly O’Connor
We’re thrilled to be able to chat with this week’s featured local artist, Kelly O’Connor. Her, always fun, works of art play with color, scale and texture. Kelly’s pieces can be seen in galleries and collections across the US, including in the McNay, right here in San Antonio!
San Antonio (and beyond) has fallen in love with your gorgeous collage work. How do you describe your art, and explain your making-process to us.
Thank you, I’m so grateful my work has been embraced by my local community and beyond. Every since I was a young child I’ve been working in the medium of collage. When I was younger I don’t really think I considered what I was making art. I have been keeping a day planner since I was in middle school, I would often collage images I was attracted to in my planner or on surfaces convenient to me such as my bulletin board. I believe these early forms of expression combined with my studio experience the University of Texas at Austin and San Antonio Community College in Visual Art is what manifested itself into my professional practice today.
What’s your biggest source of inspiration?
I’m forever inspired by the saccharine landscapes from the past, especially in the era of Modernism in America. Much of my work is about revealing what is behind the facade, whether its a cultural destination like Disneyland, or an icon like Judy Garland— as they are both quintessentially Americana and can represent larger ideas about society.
Who are your favorite 3 artists (from any time period)?
Martha Rosler, Laurie Simmons and Leigh Merrill
What is your favorite part about creating?
Getting to understand myself better and bringing joy to people who like my work.
Why do you think places like Blue Star are important for local creative communities?
Blue Star is one of the catalysts for what makes San Antonio’s contemporary art scene so vibrant. For decades Blue Star has supported artists such as myself by providing spaces for commercial galleries, artist run spaces and non profits. My first solo show was at Joan Grona Gallery in 2007, and I continued to have the opportunity to show within the Blue Star Complex over the years.
Artist Bio – “San Antonio-born visual artist Kelly O’Connor began her career as Linda Pace’s Studio Manager. She currently is the Head of Collections & Communications for the Linda Pace Foundation. You will find O’Connor’s artwork in the McNay Art Museum’s permanent collection as well as a 36 ft mural in the newly renovated Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. She was recently accepted to UTSA’s School of Business to complete an Executive MBA degree. Outside of being a contemporary art professional, she enjoys chasing around her two toddlers and is a Crossfit enthusiast.”