Kelly McCollam's Spice of Life
 

Kelly McCollam is an artist with a twist. Her interests in classical masterpieces such as Van Gogh's "Starry Night" inspired her to recreate them in her own way.

Her salt and spice formations pay homage to her favorite fine artists while conveying the visions of a young artist well on her way to success.


 kelly1
 
 

You are so talented in so many different fields of art. Did you have formal training in photography, ceramic, painting or were you self taught?

"I did have formal training in the arts. I was lucky enough to attend the art school of Ball State University in Muncie, IN where I received my Bachelor's of Fine Arts with a specialization in photography."

 

Your ceramics are "hand coiled, not thrown on a wheel." What is special about hand coiled ceramics? What are some of the advantages and challenges of hand coiling?

"Hand coiled ceramics are special because that is the traditional way of making them. The first people using ceramic pots and bowls didn't have wheels to throw them on so they used only their hands. I only took one ceramic class in college and it was a hand-building class, so I was never officially taught how to throw on a wheel. One of the challenges of hand coiling is that it is a lot more time consuming than using a wheel. What would probably take someone five minutes to throw on a wheel, would take a few days to hand coil. One of the things I like best about it though, is that hand coiled pots are not mass-produced. Every pot is different, you can't make the same pot twice."

 

kelly18

 

kelly21

What is your favorite things and events to photograph?   

"My favorite thing to photograph would be landscapes. There is nothing like being outside with yourself, Mother Nature and a camera. I also love photographing little kids and the action of sports."

kelly2
 
kelly3
 

How did you get started in salt and spice work? It's such an unusual medium and yet it lends itself to so much manipulation. What is your process like for creating an image?

"My salt and spice work started in my senior year of college. It developed from a project in one of my photo classes. A lot of my artwork has to do with the idea of pointillism, the use of many parts to create one whole, but with a twist. The project was to create mini-installations, which were not permanent. So I thought about impermanence and ways of destroying things. My act of sweeping each landscape away emphasizes the ephemeral aspects of the medium, as well as life itself."

kelly4 

"I mix individual colors in separate cups, the only dye I use to color the salt is food-coloring. Then I use my hands and a spoon to sprinkle each layer on a flat surface. It is then lit and photographed. After it's photographed it is swept away. I don't use any digital manipulations at all.

"You can see the process I use for each landscape in this video below:


kelly6
 

Where do you draw your inspiration from, and who are the artists and creators that inspire you?

"Of course my biggest inspiration is the world around me. I have tried to convey scenery from all regions of the United States: beaches, forests, country hill-sides and deserts. I want everyone who looks at my work to have an emotional reaction to at least one of my photographs. The medium is best used in an impressionistic form. My favorite painter is Vincent Van Gogh, one of the great Impressionists, so I chose to emulate his master works. Two more artists that I draw great inspiration from are Vic Muniz and Phil Hansen. They also use unique items to create their artworks, like trash, diamonds, chocolate sauce, etc."

kelly7 

kelly8

How did you get started in salt and spice work? It's such an unusual medium and yet it lends itself to so much manipulation. What is your process like for creating an image?

"My salt and spice work started in my senior year of college. It developed from a project in one of my photo classes. A lot of my artwork has to do with the idea of pointillism, the use of many parts to create one whole, but with a twist. The project was to create mini-installations, which were not permanent. So I thought about impermanence and ways of destroying things. My act of sweeping each landscape away emphasizes the ephemeral aspects of the medium, as well as life itself."

kelly9 
kelly11

"When I use spices in the piece, I don't manipulate the color or texture in any way. I like to let the natural properties of that spice be evident in the picture. If I can't find a spice the color I need, then I use food-colored salt."

kelly10 
kelly12

What is the biggest challenge and limitation when working with this medium?

"The biggest challenge is the medium itself. The salt and spices are loose and very light, so I have to be careful I don't bump them or, heaven forbid, sneeze! The biggest limitation is detail. It's hard to get really fine detail, that's why it works so well for Impressionistic works."

 herbal-van-gogh-3

What future recreations do you think you might like to include in your spice work?

"I am still planning of continuing my recreations of Van Gogh works, however, I would like to branch out and include other master Impressionists, like Monet, or great Pointillism painters like Seurat."

kelly14 

kelly17

What has been your favorite painting to recreate?

"My favorite Van Gogh piece has to be my "Spicy Night," the recreation of "Starry, Starry Night." I was very intimidated to begin, since it is so recognizable, but in the end I was very proud of how it turned out. My favorite non Van Gogh piece has to be the Suspension "Roebling" Bridge of Cincinnati. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, I live there now, so I like to think I'm paying homage to my beautiful city."

Vangogh

8218347635_64828301e0_z

In your "Spicy Night", what is the moon made out of?

"The moon in "Spicy Night" is made of cayenne pepper surrounded by onion chips."

kelly25

kelly23

Would you say that the tools and skills you use in one medium, like your fine art, transfer well to another, like your photography?

"Yes, I think the skills needed to create a piece of art can be used in all mediums. Some big ones I use in my art and photography include light and shadow, color theory, composition and perspective."

What are your goals for the future?

"My dream is to be a recognized name in the art world, to be featured in major galleries and to be able to live solely off my artwork."

 

kelly26  

Please visit Kelly McCollam's website for more info and artwork

Read 13154 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 September 2015 18:14