John Patrick Kelly
The unshakable belief that all of us are here for a purpose, are equal parts of the universe, and have to use our time here to fulfill destiny is the driving force behind the creation of John Patrick Kelly’s paintings. Patrick’s surrealistic oils combine fantasy, eroticism, humor, and a deep, esoteric understanding of life into a visual potpourri that leaves a lasting impression on most viewers.
Born in Denver, Colorado in June of 1949, Patrick was raised by his mother and grandmother. His childhood was rather traumatic, since his early attraction to art was not readily understood by his peers. While other boys were playing football, Patrick learned how to sew, make quilts and pottery pieces, collect rocks, and pretend to be an Indian. He began painting with oils at the age of six, and bronze sculpture at the age of fifteen, having become the youngest member of The Rocky Mountain Liturgical Arts Association. Between 1967 and 1970 Patrick visited the University of Northern Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain School of Art, not graduating from any of these, since the commercial slant of these institutions is far from his personal definition of art.
He opened Rasputin Gallery in 1971, producing mainly jewelry and sculpture until 1974, when he decided to emphasize his painting. Since then Patrick has had several shows in Denver, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, and Dallas.His pieces are in private art collections all over the nation and Europe. The environment of the studio he lives and paints in is as bizarre as the mad, intuitive and satirical fantasy pieces he creates. Surrounded by stacks of books, and tapes, painted skulls and bones, and lots of paint, Patrick creates surrealistic, yet sumptuous worlds, allowing the viewer a rare opportunity to participate in visions usually confined to an individual and private consciousness. His latest series of paintings portrays past and present people, their beauty, character, integrity, and harmony with earth and universe. Patrick feels awed by their sense of individuality and creates their images with genuine respect, yet not without a lighter, humorous element, showing an admirable ability to laugh and to dream.
He feels that it is very important for any artist to keep mind, ears and eyes open, since everything in one’s surroundings is a sculpture or a painting. Patrick’s love for art is only surpassed by his love of music. “Art is not the pure form that music is. If I could be a musician, I’d consider that the ultimate. You can’t avoid sound, it touches you. Music is the highest form of art there is. You are the instrument.
“For me, art is like a religion. It is a powerful love to house. It heals. It is truly a gift from the mysterious wonder that God is.”