"In The Studio With:..." is a weekly feature that takes us into the private creative spaces of emerging artists to discuss their work and career.

KellyAnne Hanrahan has been a successful commercial artist, graphic designer, and painter since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She relocated to New York in 1999, and has worked with a number of prestigious clients, as well as pursuing her career as a fine artist. Her work has been exhibited in New York City, Manchester, England, and Kyoto, Japan.

She often uses single frames from random YouTube videos as her source material, the neo-impressionist treatment of light and its effect on surface, coupled with her use of unconventional perspectives and vantage points imbue her work with a sense of kinetic energy. 

Anthony Philip Fine Art: How long have you been creating art?

KellyAnne Hanrahan: Since shortly after birth I guess… I have no memory of not creating art. I can remember making my grandma laugh with some of my earliest drawings: martini glasses with enormous olives. I LOVED drawing the triangular glass and the bright green olive with the red pimento in the center. Who wouldn’t?

APFA: Who are some of your influences?

KAH: Francis Bacon, Kerry James Marshall, Lucian Freud, Norman Rockwell, Richard Diebenkorn, Edward Hopper, Max Beckmann. But I am also very influenced by the artists I know (not necessarily stylistically), since we can talk about what we’re doing while we do it - Russell Boyle, Judy Mannarino, Dan Lang, Andy Shaunsberg, Joel Adas, Helen Selsdon. Having other painters around me really pushes me to take risks.

APFA: What are you trying to say with the work you make?

KAH: Lately, I’ve become more and more interested in the survival behaviors that human and non-human animals have in common. Specifically located in the modern human notion of “the outdoors”: campgrounds. When have to camp in a campground, I’m intrigued seeing the way people behave when they are sleeping, eating, and generally behaving while outside. 

Folks often remark “Why do you call this series “Oil Paintings of Animals” when they’re obviously people?” Perhaps that is part what I’m trying to do: help folks remember we’re all animals. It’s not opinion, it’s biology. Perhaps the awkwardness, boredom, and loneliness that exists in some of my paintings addresses the disconnect some of us feel as animals in this environment where we go grocery shopping instead of hunting and gathering or put makeup on after menopause. 

APFA: How long do you work on a piece before considering it done or moving on to something else?

KAH: I finish individual pieces really quickly (depending on size, of course) - usually within a week. But I think of my work as one long, multi-canvassed process rather than individual paintings. That isn’t to say they aren’t intended to work on their own, but I don’t take individual paintings so seriously - I don’t get hung up if they aren’t “perfect". I see them all coming together as one grand statement. Otherwise, they would just be separate illustrations on the same theme. I see them all working together to form a collage that evolves. Like individuals in a crowd/herd.

Also, I paint over paintings I don’t like anymore all the time. So I guess it could be argued they’re never really “done”?

APFA: What was a breakthrough moment in your art?

KAH: I have breakthroughs all the time! I worked on a series of “Garbage Paintings” for years that were very graphic, very controlled, very still. My breakthrough, which spawned the Oil Paintings of Animals series, was admitting I was bored with the static, unmoving subject matter. I broke through into a world that is all about movement and life. 

If you would like to find out more about KellyAnne and her art, please visit her website athttp://www.koolass.com

1 Comment