Monsters! MONSTERS, EVERYWHERE!! Wait! Before you run and hide under your bed, you might want to stop and get to know these classically feared beasts. What if, just like our irrational fear of robot world domination, these frightening lookin’ fellas wanted nothing more than to make your day?
Today’s Sharpie artist, Allie Kelley, is breaking the monster mold and proving there is more behind these fiendish looks than gnashing teeth. Prepare yourself for one frighteningly great interview, we are so glad you’re here…
Featured Sharpie Artist: Allie Kelley
Tell me about yourself! Is this the part where I try to sound brilliant and interesting? Well, I’m not great at that. The truth is I am a 20-something, self-taught artist who loves to laugh and wants to create quirky things that make other people smile and think. I am currently a Massage Therapist, which I love, but I dream of one day having a career where I get paid to create.
Ms. Allie Kelly, Monster momma
How did you get started as an artist? I think I’ve been creative since I could hold a crayon. When I was little my mother and I moved into a house where my bedroom had been painted yellow and my Mom hated it. She gave me some crayons and told me to draw all over the walls, when they were full- she was painting the room another color.
How would you describe your personal style?
Uh… clothing wise? I like vintage, I like scarves, and I like threadless.com
Artistically? I’m still trying to figure that out, to be honest. I try to make interesting, whimsical pieces that I’m going to want to look at 5 years from now… it’s like if Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton somehow had a child and that child was obsessed with vivid colors.
Where do you draw inspiration from? A handy method is to stay up crazy late, chug a Red bull or two and sketch till I can’t keep my eyes open. I will take inspiration anyway I can get it. Spring trees in bloom, Discovery channel, city museums, and my trusted friends saying: “DRAW THIS!” are all ways that I’ve found a subject or a theme for my work. (Specific to this interview: my friend Amanda said: “you should draw monsters” and so I did.)
How do you use Sharpie markers in your work? I use Sharpie markers at many levels. If I’m working on a painting, I use Sharpie markers for the pre-draw or I use Sharpie to doodle and try to gain inspiration. Other times (and more often lately) I just like to sit down with some great paper and a 24 pack of the Ultra Fine Point Sharpie markers and create from there. I love how the color combinations really mesh on the page and how the small tip allows for a lot of tiny wonderful details.
Favorite Sharpie? Why? I love using the Ultra Fine Point in pastel and light colors. People don’t expect those tiny details in pink lemonade. I think the one I gravitate to the most is the Blue Ice in the Ultra Fine Point. I love the way it pops off my paper.
What is it about monsters that you love so much? I love that monsters surprise you. People usually place anything very unfamiliar in their “monster” category. Unfortunately it’s a natural response to feel that if it’s different, it’s scary. Once you get past your discomfort you can often be surprised that your “monster” is interesting, or funny, or kind. My monsters look the part, but they say nice things to you. They remind you that you are loved and that you make others happy. They tell you things your friends and neighbors should say to you every day.
If you came face to face with one of your monster doodles in real life what would you say to him/her? Well, I would hope the Doodle monster would be my size and not teeny-tiny. I would also hope they would be down for going to have tea and a chat!!! Oh, I would have so many questions!! What do you eat? Do you have pets? How old are you?! Do doodle monsters have jobs to work at? I guess I should be exploring all this with my art- and I will probably touch on some of it- but I would LOVE to just ask them!
What is the strangest monster you’ve ever created? Prettiest? Ugliest? Funniest? This is the hardest question for me. I don’t think of my monsters in those terms. So, I listed a few and told you what I think they would be like if one was behind you in a coffee shop:
"To me, this is the supportive mom of the Doodle monster family"
"This guy might be the class clown"
"And this guy, He’s my favorite. If I look at him with the paper one way I see a proud water Buffalo thing, and if I flip the paper the other way I see a tiny terrier puppy with tentacles."
"I think of this one as my compassionate little sister of the monster doodle family"
Monster names? How do I come up with them? I only have one doodle named: BLOAT MONSTER. I think it’s a name so easy to relate to and sympathize. He is the exception.
I think the neatest thing about my monsters is that different people see them as different things. I think if I named them, it would influence what people saw- so I try to stay away from giving them names.
Current work? I am always trying to create and explore. I doodle, sketch and collage a lot- but mostly I consider myself a painter. Recently I have been obsessed with painting Dinos and Doodle Monsters and 2-headed creatures. I’ve also started carrying around the largest sketch pad I can, trying to fill it with Sharpie drawings, paint, and hodgepodge, occasionally all 3 on one page!
Advice for other young artists? The best “arty” advice I ever received was:
“Create every day.”
My attempt to follow that advice has made all the difference in my work and my artistic style.
What am I going to do with my monster doodles? I’m going to start with creating more. To me, each is unique and has a different feeling to them. Later this year, I have a few shows in Virginia coming up to feature them in. Eventually though, I would like to create a children’s book with and for them. To teach kids about judging at first glance and why that’s not the best way to go through the world. Maybe what seems like a weird blobby monster is a friend you’ve been looking for.
Thank you so much to Allie for uncapping her Monster gang with us! For more on Allie and her posse check her out on her blog, Facebook page, or, if you want a Monster friend all your own, on Etsy!