The Writings and Drawings On The Wall: A Conversation with Kelsey Montague


(Image credit: Rose Marie Cromwell. Cromwell The image was found in the New York Times in its piece called The Super Bowl Is the Biggest Art Show in Miami Right Now . The link to the article is https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/29/arts/design/super-bowl-street-art.html )


Since the dawn of time, humans have wanted a way to remember people, animals, religions, and more. Before written language, people communicated by drawing or etching things that matter onto a wall. Kelsey Montague keeps this tradition alive with her work. I had the chance to speak with her to learn more about her artistic process.




(Image credit: Taylor Swift's Instagram page. The image was found on https://people.com/travel/taylor-swift-butterfly-wings-mural-artist-kelsey-montague/.)


1. What does art mean to you?

I believe art should make people feel. I focus on art that makes people feel beautiful, strong, happy, and hopefully reflective. What is most important in your life? What lifts you? If art isn’t making you feel something, I think it’s lost its way.



(Image courtesy of Kelsey Montague's Facebook page. Image depicts Michael Bublé in front of Montague's Nashville Gulch mural.)


2. How have your murals evolved since the beginning of your career?

I think my perspective on interactive art has shifted. I don’t focus only on wings now- I focus on all sorts of concepts that invite a subject to come into a piece and become a living work of art. That’s what I want to create now. Moments people will remember that are living works of art.



(Image credit Courtney Montague. The image was found on USA Today's article Snap a photo at these amazing murals across the United States. The link to this article is https://www.10best.com/interests/galleries-venues/20-best-murals-street-art-photos-selfies-united-states/)


I also take a lot of care to make sure each piece serves the community. If I’m providing a moment of beautification in a place that could use it, or I’m creating something that speaks to the community’s collective history.



(Image courtesy of Kelsey Montague's instagram page. The image depicts Montague's A Celebration of Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.)




3. How do you incorporate your mission and vision into your pieces?

I think each piece really focuses on the community in which it lives. The main image and the smaller ones hidden inside the art reflect the community.



(Video courtesy of ABC News)


I also think adding #whatliftsyou to each piece has sparked a ton of conversation about what is most important in people’s lives. I love going through that hashtag and reading people’s responses. We aren’t asked enough to think about what we value most.



(Image courtesy of Courtney Montague. The image was found on Forbes for its 10 Unforgettable Murals: See Kelsey Montague's Bigger-Than-Life Artwork Throughout The US. The link to this article is https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinraven/2019/08/30/10-unforgettable-murals-see-kelsey-montagues-bigger-than-life-artwork-throughout-the-us/?sh=7f273e7444b2)


4. How can students and young professionals get into the art world?

I think that making things and sharing them on social is huge. That’s how I started… sharing my work on Instagram. Getting that immediate feedback really helped me grow as an artist. Also, just practicing constantly and using sharing on social as a way to hold yourself accountable to your art practice is really helpful when you start.



(Image courtesy of Boston.com. The link to the image is found at https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-marathon/2018/04/11/pretend-you-can-fly-at-this-boylston-street-boston-marathon-mural/.)



Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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