Saturday Salon - Kelly Letky

Image created by Kelly Letky

Following is the fifth in my once-monthly series of 'Saturday Salons' - where I'll be introducing and sharing the work of other artists who I've met along my journeys here on this great world wide web.

Today - I am thrilled to be interviewing Kelly Letky whose beautiful jewelry work you can see over at The Blue Muse and who muses and writes over at  Mrs. Mediocrity.

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"The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are."

- C.S. Lewis

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Can you tell me what first ignited your creative spark?

When I was thirteen or so, I began to write poetry. It was never a conscious decision, it just happened. Later on in my teens, I wanted to go to college to become a photographer. As life would have it, I took a few detours before I made it to college at all, and when I went, I majored in graphic arts. You will laugh if I tell you one of the main reasons why: it was one of the few majors offered that didn't require a course in public speaking! For many years now (about 25 or so) I have made my living from this trade, first for newspapers, then a magazine, and for the past 18 years, as a freelance artist, which, by the way, quickly forced me to get over my shyness, as I am constantly meeting with clients and presenting ideas. Through all those years I had always written, mainly poetry, but a couple of years ago, I decided to start my blogs, which led me straight back to photography and now both of these pursuits are at the forefront of my life. It was full circle, interrupted.

You are so multi-talented. You write. You photograph. You create beautiful jewelry. Can you tell me where it is you get your inspiration for your writing?

Writing is probably the part of my creative life that comes the easiest. Poetry is something that just happens for me, it's not something I can do at will. As for other writing, especially for my blogs, it often starts with a photo, I will try to come up with a play on words to go along with a particular image. I also try to inject some humor or a sense of irony into my writing whenever possible, and I tend to focus on living in the moment or finding beauty that is always there right in front of us if we look hard enough. When I am not feeling inspired at all, I usually just sit down and start writing, and though I often end up discarding what I start out with, I also usually come up with something decent by the time I am finished.

Nature is a big source of inspiration in all my creative pursuits, whenever I feel the need for a visit from the muse I head outside for a run or a walk or just to sit in my garden. There is always something new or fresh or changing out there, the cycles of life are endlessly fascinating.

Your photography definitely has a certain 'signature' style. Can you speak to how that has evolved?

This is a tough one for me, I still don't comfortably wear the title of photographer. I guess I feel like I am more of an image maker, I spend a lot of time on the back end trying to create something that resembles what I see in my mind's eye. I tend to like macro shots, zooming in on the stuff that is so easy to miss when we aren't paying enough time or attention. The style that has come through in most of my work is the result of lots and lots of playing around with textures and layers and sometimes double exposures. I'm not looking for that perfect SOOC shot (although I admire those that are able to do so), I am looking for the image that lives inside my head. I also have to mention Kim Klassen here as the catalyst for so much of what I have learned about photo manipulation. I took one of her classes early on after starting my blogs, and what I learned from her was really the impetus for much of what I am doing these days.

Do you have any favorite artists that you believe have impacted and informed your work?

This tends to change for me, and I am terrible at keeping up with contemporary artists. I love the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, Modigliani, Van Gogh, but there are so many people making beautiful art today that impact and influence me on a regular basis. That is one of the things I love best about the blogosphere, there is a constant influx of art and writing and information bouncing around in my head..hopefully it comes back out as something worthwhile. I am also a voracious reader, and I think that fiction impacts me more than any other form of art.

You describe yourself as an 'Average Jo'..and yet your life is hardly 'average' or 'ordinary'. Can you tell me a bit about your jewelry-making and about the art fairs at which you sell your art?

I truly do think of myself as an average jo, but most days, my life is pretty crazy! My plate is very full, and there are times when it is hard to keep up.

I started making jewelry about six years ago, first as a hobby that I enjoyed, and then as a way to augment my income when things were slow with my graphics business. My sister and I joined forces to start Blue Muse. We do all our shows together and always have great fun. The shows are a ton of work, getting ready for them is always a scramble, and then you have to keep all your fingers and toes crossed in hopes of good weather. But once we get everything set up and we are ready to open, it is a really good time. We always meet new people and have quite a few regulars that have become friends over the years.

In the six years that we have been doing art shows, the landscape has changed pretty substantially. I think more and more people are selling online to avoid the hassles that can come with doing shows. Jewelry is a tough category, it always fills fast, but many of the other categories have had openings until the last minute at a lot of the shows we participate in. There is so much that is beyond our control, the weather, the crowds, trends that come and go. I think you just have to offer a good product with a consistent theme and message, and give yourself time to build up a following. And a healthy sense of humor helps too!

Thanks so much, Marcie, for inviting me to participate in this series. I am honored to be here!

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Would love to  meet and interview you here. If interested - please feel free to introduce yourself.