Jay Kelly - Incomparable, 2020 (detail)

Jay Kelly

Figurative Art

November 5, 2020

Jay Kelly is an American contemporary artist known for his unique style of creating life-like portraits and collages out of books, photos, and magazines. Self-taught, he began experimenting with figurative collage in the late 1990s. Soon, Kelly found himself clipping meaningful images and bits of text from second-hand art books and attaching them directly to the canvases. Eventually, he stopped using paint altogether and began creating images entirely out of found material. By allowing the viewer to first see a complete, near photorealistic image from a distance, then at a closer look to explore the many individual textures and bits of text, Kelly is able to add layers of meaning to each of his pieces. His focus is the great outdoors, but these are far from traditional scenes. Instead, they are contemporary compositions derived from a careful blend of classic beauty and modern life, which all have one thing in common – emotion.

Featured image: Jay Kelly - Incomparable, 2020 (detail). Collage & resin on panel. 60 × 48 × 2 in. 152.4 × 121.9 × 5.1 cm. This is a unique work. Photo courtesy Whistler Contemporary