Born in Evansville, Indiana, Kelly Walker found her way to Baltimore, MD by the age of 18 where she has lived ever since. A self taught artist, Walker will tell you she studied at “The School of Real Life”. She absorbs the beauty, chaos and sometimes disturbing reality of Baltimore City and channels it into her work. In addition to her fine art career, Walker also runs a decorative painting company, Artstar Custom Paintworks, which is responsible for many of the exquisite custom faux finishes and murals found throughout the city’s establishments.
In 2013, Walker purchased a rundown auto shop in the heart of the city. The building is precariously placed between the historic, art rich Mount Vernon district and less prestigious neighborhoods known more for regular police activity and abandoned homes than “cultured” outposts. In an immense labor of love, Walker transformed the downtrodden building into a live/work space that has been featured in Baltimore Magazine as a work of art in of itself.
Walker’s art collection covers the inside, boasting of other local Baltimore Artists. The studio and apartment serve not only as a place of business and a home, but also an event space. Walker frequently opens her home for gatherings which benefit city organizations, such as Creative Alliance. Never turning a blind eye to the other side of the street, she also regularly hires people from the neighborhood who are in need of a helping hand.
The dichotomy of Kelly Walker’s world translates onto her canvases as she paints with zeal and confidence; committing spontaneous reflections of her mood and emotions to canvas. Walker’s abstract paintings demonstrate the techniques, textures, and patterns she employs as a professional decorative painter. Utilizing a wide range of atypical materials, her works are intricately layered and her surfaces defy explanation, calling reference to landscape, graffiti, and color fields. Walker’s artwork has been featured extensively at venues both in and outside of the Baltimore area, including the Rosenberg Gallery, Silo Point, Gallery 1951 in Los Angeles, and the Delaware Museum of Art.
I am in a perpetual state of exploring and developing the mediums which I employ. My work is organic and uncensored, and I rely solely on intuition and my current emotional state when producing work. My emotional landscape seems to be cyclical and I have found comfort in channeling these moments that explain the reason I produce in series. I push mediums past their intended purposes, encouraging them to collide and react, not rejecting happy accidents, and forcing incompatible materials to meet. I work in fits of inspiration and struggle to find the time to create - that tension is used to my advantage. I frequently revisit paintings that have long since been put away. This process of reworking and revisiting a piece delivers charge, texture and energy that is not to be overlooked. In the end, I want to make the world a more beautiful place to live in, one encounter at a time.