Kelli N. Wimbley

Kelli N. Wimbley

“Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.” -Picasso

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI, I discovered my passion for painting, while simultaneously resisting it.  During my attendance at Western Michigan University, I initially focused on photography and later became more invested in ceramics and sculpture, under the tutelage of Al Lavergne. Painting was an overdue requirement that was to be reckoned with.  After graduating with a B.A in Art, I began studying Industrial Design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.  Once again finding that painting could not be avoided, I found myself surrounded by new thoughts of creating that I can only describe as the harmony and the science of colorful compositions. 

My abstracts are what feel most organic; I’m in every stroke. I’m not second-guessing myself, and I’m living in the moment when I create my designs. They started as tattoo designs, doodles on folders or in the margins, and came as naturally as writing my name. The design was first created with pencil and pen, and I now choose paint as the medium and comfortably so. There’s nothing like creating something that feels like an extension of myself and as fluid as breathing.

            The first show I was invited to participate in was with The Black Women’s Art Festival, held in Philadelphia, PA.  It was during the opening of this show that I embraced myself as an artist.  It took me such a long time to recognize myself as an artist, even though I started creating at a very young age;  It was a title that I felt should be earned. I have realized now that being an artist is who I am, not what I do.

There are so many sides to me that are constantly evolving, and it seems that painting finds ways to extend itself into every facet.  I am intrigued in the messy, in the neat, in lines, as well as curves. When I look at a blank surface, I am clueless as to what will drape across the empty space, but I am sure that it will have something to say.  Whether I use shades or tints, positive space or negative space, I want to send a message that can be received in any language.  My desire is for each painting to become a story and for each reader to become a new character.