Here at Oopsy daisy, we love art most of all. Wall art for kids’ rooms, to be exact. But we also love the art of a well-turned phrase. And there’s nothing like a child seeing his or her own name in a piece of personalized art.
And that’s why we love Shelly Kennedy’s work. She’s an endlessly talented artist who often incorporates catchy phrases into her work. She also creates many of the personalized art options we have here at Oopsy daisy. Recently, we had some choice words with her:
Oopsy daisy: Let’s start with your background. Are you formally trained in art?
Shelly Kennedy: Umm, sort of. I took art lessons form a very early age (it was always my favorite “hobby”); attending classes from local artists, at my elementary art teacher’s home in the summers, and any group class I could find! Some [classes were] fun and casual while some were very old school, teaching traditional methods and techniques.
I attended Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. I started my college career in the School of Fine Arts, aiming towards a degree in Illustration. But in my sophomore year I realized that long term, I really wanted to start my own creative business someday and so I switched to Marketing and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Business.
OD: You incorporate text into some of your art. Do you start with the phrase, then add the art, or do you start with the image you like and then find a quote to go with it?
SK: Both! Sometimes I see an image and it sparks an idea/quote/message. But sometimes I have a message I’d like to share and then I have to develop a visual to accompany it.
OD: Do you use clip art with the phrases or create the illustrations yourself?
SK: Both. I adore the look and feel of 19th century engravings and I often use those. But I also use images and my own photography or drawing, which I then manipulate on the computer to look vintage or etched.
OD: Your name pieces also incorporate text. Do you have a particular love of words?
SK: I do love fonts (and words, singularly and strung together!). I collect vintage children’s books. I love to study the fonts used, and it is even more of a special treasure when the book has a nameplate or TO/FROM sentiment/signature. Priceless.
OD: Those books sound inspiring. Is that where you get your inspiration?
SK: I get inspiration from the favorite illustrators of my childhood, like Richard Scarry, Tasha Tudor, Maurice Sendak, and Beatrix Potter. I also love vintage anything! Fabric, wallpaper, jewelry, books. Also, my children (now 13 & 14) inspire me, with their ever-changing tastes, interests, and talents.
OD: What do you do when/if you get “artist’s block?”
SK: Oh, I get it! I’ll take a trip to an antique or thrift store. Flip through stacks of old magazines and books in my studio. Open a new box of crayons (it is always packed with 64 colors and loads of ideas!).
OD: What advice do you have for children/young people who want to become artists?
SK: Just create! keep making, drawing, painting, building, inventing! And to parents I’d say this: do your best to document and save what your kids create. It is priceless to look back on for later inspiration and can sometimes spark ideas of greatness later in life! As a parent, I know that those creations can add up fast! So be sure to scan or photograph all 2D and 3D creations before they “disappear.” That includes but is not limited to: naughty wall doodles, memorable fashionista moments of independence, tree forts, snowmen, cookie decorating, and recycled trash sculptures.
OD: Complete this sentence: [Blank] stifles my creativity.
SK: Letting the dog in and out 100 times a day stifles my creativity.
OD: What’s the most recent YouTube video you watched?
SK: My kids are always showing me something! But the last one I watched (by choice!) was one of my daughter (when she was ten years old) doing a rendition of I Love Lucy’s “Vitameatavegamin.” It makes me laugh so hard! It was for a 4th-grade American History project. The school creates a wax museum of famous American figures. She was to stand and not talk (you know, “wax-figure like”) but she learned the entire skit anyway! Yes, she is a natural (and crazy) redhead!
OD: Any advice you’d give the you of ten years ago?
SK: Trust yourself! Follow your gut and intuition. Try not to second-guess yourself. Your first impression/reaction is usually the right one (and the one you will return to after much deliberation)!
OD: Complete this sentence: I really shouldn’t, but I…
SK: …just ate an entire bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.
OD: Would you want to trade places with your pet if you could?
SK: Oh YES! Definitely! Because she is the most pampered, well-cared-for animal I know! She naps all day in a heated bed, eats homemade food, never picks up after herself and gets away with attitude without consequence.
OD: If you could invent an ice cream flavor, what would it be?
SK: Mocha Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (with maybe a touch of granola for crunch).
OD: If you could be any color, what would it be?
SK: Dark, dark warm grey. Bold, mysterious, dramatic, and potentially moody!