Brian Sherwin: Kelly, tell us a little about your background. Can you recall your first experiences with art? When did you know that you wanted to pursue art for life?
Kelly Mudge: I've been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I knew at a young age that I wanted to do something with my art. When I was in high school I got really into comic books, which was one reason I decided to pursue art as a career. I've since branched off from doing sequential work, but I still have some projects going on in the background. I started out wanting to do more commercial work (driven by some of the illustration classes I took in college) but am focused more on fine art at the moment.
BS: Kelly, you graduated from Pratt Institute in 2001. Who were your mentors during your years at Pratt? How did they influence or inspire you?
KM: There were some great teachers at Pratt who helped me develop my work further than I ever thought possible, including Professor Joe Smith and David Passalaqua. I was also very influenced and inspired by my peers. It's hard not to grow as an artist with so much talent around you.
BS: Kelly, you have been working on a project that you call "Engage". Can you tell our readers more about that project? What are your motives behind it? What are you trying to convey?
KM: In this project I am trying to capture the subjects personality in an unconventional way. I thought it would be interesting to do portraits that are more about the person on the inside than their physical appearance. I want to engage the viewer emotionally with each work.
BS: Kelly, can you tell us more about the symbolism of these multi- armed characters? As you know, some religions and aspects of spirituality embrace the image of multiple arms for various reasons. Is there a spiritual side to your work?
KM: In some pieces, yes. In others the use of multiple limbs is a way to convey their attitude, fears, etc. It's very specific from piece to piece.
BS: Kelly, in a sense your recent work is about the human condition, correct? By chance, have you studied psychology?
BS: Kelly, what else has influenced your art?
KM: Every experience I have influences my art. Specifically, the people around me. I'm influenced by people's dreams, fears, insecurities, day to day struggles and stories. Aside from that, I'm influenced by music, comic books, traveling, history and of course other artists. Right now I'm really into Ralph Steadman, Gail Potocki and Lucian Freud to name a few.
BS: Kelly, tell us about your studio. Where do you work? What is your studio practice like? Do you follow some sort of routine?
KM: My studio is an extra bedroom in my apartment in Brooklyn. I have been working with acrylic on wood for the past few years, which lend themselves to working in a smaller space. I don't have any real routine- I work whenever I have the time to. I shoot my models in my studio, transfer the photos to my computer, then start the painting.
BS: Kelly, in your opinion... what is the most important thing to remember when creating art?
KM: To have fun. Otherwise, what's the point?
KM: I'm in a group show in January at Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, CA. I also may be showing in Oklahoma City this coming year.
BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the artworld?
KM: I hope I can do this for the rest of my life!