Gary Kelley is a full-time artist, but he also occasionally teaches at the university level, and each summer teaches at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Gary Kelley lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Mr. Kelley grew up looking at the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, and the whole Brandywine School of art. Pablo Picasso is a favorite artist, and he loves Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, and Henri Rousseau. He mentions that recently he learned that Vincent Van Gogh saw Howard Pyle’s illustrations and said, “I hope I can paint like that someday.” Kelley has been asked to contribute a page in a book for George Lucas, the writer and director of Star Wars, a book in which 100 different artists present their impression of Star Wars.
Mr. Kelley uses a variety of art forms, with painting and printmaking among them. He suggests that in class, students could make pastel drawings or monotypes. With water soluble ink, you first paint on a piece of glass. Then you place the paper over the glass and rub it with a spoon. It is a pretty direct medium, Kelley says, and books are readily available to explain the technique.
Note: Teachers should preview these sites; some artwork is not appropriate for all levels of students.
Kelley’s work can be found at these sites:
• Barnes & Noble book stores, wall murals
• Macaroni Grill menus
• Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York City
• Murals at University of Northern Iowa, in the connection between the UNI-dome and McLeod Center, which is visible from outside the buildings
• Mr. Kelley’s work is represented in many of the most well-known magazines, such as New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Atlantic Monthly