Desiree Kelly, established portrait artist working and living in the Detroit area. Earning her B.F.A from Detroit's own Wayne State University, studying Graphic Design. Kelly was introduced to Oil Painting while studying at Wayne State University. Her love of portraiture inspired by the environment of growing up on Eastside Detroit, 2993 Beals st, she developed her style of urban portraits. Her historically immersive portraits capture the essence of her subjects by including artifacts and phrases within the background of her pieces. She captures the true personality of her subject. Transforming classic portraiture to a new contemporary portraiture with oil paint, spray paint and collage.
Her work can be experienced all of Detroit area. Some pieces can be found in permanent and temporary public collections at Coleman Young Municipal Building (Mayor's office), Dpop, Kuzzo's restaurant, Royal Oak VFW Bldg, 2 buses for Detroit Bus Company, Spain Middle School Gymnasium as so much more!
She has been represented by several galleries in the Detroit area which includes, Red Bull House of Art (Detroit), Inner State Gallery, Ann Arbor Art Center, Scarab Club, Crooked Tree & Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. Her work has been featured at Charles H Wright Museum of African American Art and was awarded a residency for 5th cycle of Red Bull House of Art in 2013(listen to the interview here). She has also had her paintings featured in an International group exhibition "The Story of the Creative" at See.Me gallery in NYC in 2013.
In 2014, she began to extend her paintings from canvas to large scale mural work. She teamed up with Detroit Bus Company and Converse, to create murals to cover 2 full size school buses, apart of the #sneakerclash international campaign. Shortly after, she worked with Grand River Creative Corridor (read the interview here) in Detroit for a 42 ft mural of her most recognized subject "Abe in Shades". There are several "Abe in Shades" murals around the Metro-Detroit area including the original which is on display in Dpop (downtown Detroit) and a 15ft x 9ft mural on the VFW building in downtown Royal Oak.
In 2016, she was commissioned by The Ellen DeGeneres Show to create a paint a 20ft mural for Spain Elementary Middle school in efforts to revitalize their gymnasium. Ellen donated half a million dollars to Spain Elementary School for renovations and improvements to the school that were unveiled in September 2016. The improvements included a new roof and a new gym. (See the reveal!)
Previsouly held the position as Production Manager - Senior Graphic Designer as well as contributing Illustrator for alternative newspaper Detroit MetroTimes. Receiving an AAN Award - Best Cover illustration (in circulation of 50,000 or more) in 2013 and SPJ nomination for her covers in 2014. She also took on the role as Art Director for Downriver based music magazine Detroit Live.
Kelly was also recognized as a Chicago:Raw Artist in 2012 (watch the interview here). Leading to her work & interviews being featured in German film (www.fwu.de) about the rise of the Art Scene in populated cities. Her work is featured in the Permanent Collections as well as Private Collections.
:ON THE WEB
Converse /// Featured Artist
Featured artist for #SneakerClash international campaign. Painter of 2 mural (These murals were recognized as most successful of this campaign)
RedBull House of Art /// Featured Artist
Sponsored resident of 5th cycled of Red Bull House of Art (Detroit) which is the second of two programs in the world created sponsored by Red Bull. Incubator and Group Exhibition