Everyone’s talking about artist Kelly Ording these days… her recent mural project for Facebook in the company’s new Frank Gehry designed Headquarters is only one of the reasons. Recently, Artsource Studio sat down with Kelly to talk more about her process, inspiration and upcoming projects.
Artsource Studio: Tell us about the materials you work with in your studio practice.
Kelly Ording: In my studio, I primarily work with pencil, ink, acrylic and spray-paint on both paper and canvas. I begin a piece by dyeing the paper or canvas with natural dyes over several days. The result of this dyeing process usually informs the composition or color palette that I decide to use on that particular piece. I like to begin working on a piece after this natural dyeing process has occurred because I feel like I am letting the unpredictable side of nature run its course before I step in.
Kelly Ording: I still feel like I am relatively new to mural work. I have the upmost respect for muralists because it requires an incredible amount of courage and confidence to walk up to a large wall and begin painting (and that’s not even mentioning all the people watching you paint!). So, I am still learning a lot! My studio work can’t really translate seamlessly into mural work. There is a lot of texture created with the dyed paper or canvas, and it’s very hard to achieve that same aesthetic on a wall. I’ve experimented a lot with the backgrounds on murals, but the two are just very different mediums. Also, murals by their very nature are often larger than life, colorful, and bombastic. You want your mural work to be noticed from three blocks away! However, my studio work is often very intricate, quiet and subtle. And often, the viewer has to come close to see all the beauty quietly hidden there. So, there are a lot of differences to be worked out there.
Artsource Studio: Describe your experience with the Facebook (AIR) Artist in Residence Program.
Kelly Ording: I’ve had the great opportunity to work at Facebook on three separate occasions. Most recently, I completed painting an entire “pod” or essentially a small building within the massive building Frank Gehry designed. I think the Facebook AIR program is really wonderful for so many reasons. It is a program that encourages artists to step outside their comfort zone and really experiment with their medium. Not only does it require you to take risks, it compensates you to take risks! Bay Area artists are living in very complicated times, but, I do admire the company for having this program, encouraging their employees to interact with art and supporting the fact that art is necessary in everyone’s lives.