Though she says she has created some form of art her entire life, Kellie Thomas-Walker has only been pursuing art as a career for a little more than five years.
Born in Upland and having grown up in Old Shasta, the 37-year-old artist has been living in Long Beach with her husband and four daughters for the last 10 years.
Her faith is important to her, and it’s evident in her work. However, an active lifestyle is also a meaningful part of her life, as well as her family’s; running, camping and learning to surf are ways she spends her time when she isn’t gardening, reading or helping out at her girls’ school.
What drew you into the art world?
It chose me. I felt a little off-axis. I had given birth to all four of my girls. My youngest was one year old, yet I felt like something was missing. I started actively working on my art then stumbled across an art call for Gallery Expo in Bixby Knolls. My first show I exhibited 15 artworks. I sold a large abstract on the First Fridays Art Walk. The vibe, the people, the art, the artists…I was hooked.
What would you say is your “point of view” as an artist?
Art is a creative catharsis for me. I put my vulnerability into my artworks. My art is my soul’s journey.
Have you had any training as an artist?
I have not had formal training. I have been surrounded by art, since my mother is a painter, illustrator. I didn’t realize how much my mom taught me until I was an adult.
What are your biggest obstacles to getting your work accomplished, and how do you combat them?
For me I have dealt with the galleries or publications that promise a great deal, only for an escalated fee. When I first started out I fell into that trap. Lost money and learned my lesson to be very wary. I have found that in general, people do not know that some galleries ask artists not just for a hefty commission, but wall rent fees. I’m having to be extremely selective at this point. For the past seven months I have been consistently selling art works just through word of mouth. It can be extremely frustrating at times. You want to make a name for yourself, get your work out there. It’s not as easy as some may think.
What inspires you the most as an artist?
Your mom also makes art. How much has she inspired you creatively?
My mama is my hero. Not just her artistic ability but her strength of heart urges me to be a better person every day. I, along with my brother and sister, did not have a good start in this life, but that does not mean the rest will be the same. Bad things happen whether if we are afraid or not. We must let go of fear. My mom taught me that.
Likewise, how do you think your art affects your own children?
My four daughters continue to blow me away with their capability. Some households play video games; we sketch or paint, or write a play, poem or story.
My mama wouldn’t let the TV be on until 5pm, and only if homework and chores were done. I’m following that rule. It encourages the creative mind. Health and fitness is vital in my house. If the body isn’t running at its premium, how can the mind?
To view more of Thomas-Walker’s work, visit kelliethomas-walker.com .