Born in Horseheads NY, currently living in Brooklyn NY.
What’s a normal day in the studio like for you?
I try and get in as early as possible. I share a studio with some good friends and I like to try and have a few hours before anyone else gets in here. Then start some computer work, mostly emailing and handling anything pressing. Over the last few years I’ve been working on archive projects, so a lot of scanning and file naming to keep up. After I get most of that done I’ll try and get into shooting other personal work if I don’t have any commercial work happening.
How solitary is your art-making process?
My studio mates are a huge inspiration. We all have different interests in photography, so it’s great to bounce ideas off each other and get excited to see them all making working–makes it so you don’t slack.
To what extent do you plan ahead for your personal work, and how much do you leave for editing and selection?
I’m not best at planning ahead, but once I have an idea stuck in my head I just have to go with that. For me, the instant I start trying to plan or sketch ideas I lose momentum and the process slows down.
What themes or motifs are you consistently drawn to?
Landscapes and Plants/Trees seem to be a recurring subject.
I'm not best at planning ahead, but once I have an idea stuck in my head I just have to go with that. For me, the instant I start trying to plan or sketch ideas I lose momentum and the process slows down.
— Brian Kelley
What was the inspiration for your recent Botanical Studies series?
All of my recent trips out west and to Vancouver Island have a been a huge part of inspiration. With this series of Botanical Studies though, it was a super sporadic idea with no planning. I was at a flower shop one day and saw some beautiful flowers and decided I wanted to photograph them with no idea in mind of presentation. Upon getting to the studio, I just started looking around to see how I could prop up the flowers, and the result is what you see.
Do you find that your location strongly influences the direction of your work?
Over the last decade of living in NYC, I feel as though I’m wanting more nature in my life, specifically forests, so I’ve made several trips to the Pacific Northwest recently. The type of growth and landscape that that area has to offer is phenomenal. So when I come back to NYC after one of these trips, I still have this yearning for nature, which is why most of my recent work focuses so much on trees and flowers.
Is there any artwork on display in your studio? Whose is it?
My friend Nick Jaskey. His work is amazing. I have one of his paintings hanging over my desk at the studio.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
Probably just liking it for myself and being happy about what I’m making.