Gary Kelley received his degree in art from the University of Northern Iowa. He began his career as a graphic designer and art director before becoming an illustrator in the mid-1970s. His awards have included 28 gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York, also Best-In-Show recognition in New York and Los Angeles Illustrators’ Exhibitions. He was elected to the Society of Illustrators (NY) Hall of Fame in 2007. His client list has included The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, GQ, the Kentucky Derby, NFL, NBA, MLB, CBS Records, United States Postal Service, Santa Fe Opera, and many major publishers and advertising agencies.
As an illustrator, painter and printmaker, my motivation is based on message, medium and art history. This year, with our pandemic, the mask appeared as a motivating theme; connections to culture and history that don't relate directly to a pandemic. I am not specifically a portrait artist, but I was taken by the possibilities and variety offered by the connection of masks with portraits. Normally I use my press for printing monotypes. But here, no press, just rolling out etching ink directly on paper, then enhancing those marks by drawing over them with pastel pencils. 'Mixed media' creations specifically for the exhibition.