Smile Politely

WorkSpace: Kelly Hieronymus

Welcome back to WorkSpace, a new series featuring an inside look at the places where local artists roll up their sleeves and take care of business. For each installment, I’ll bring an interview with a local C-U artist, complete with photographs of their work, to showcase his or her craft and expertise.

Kelly is an artist/designer based out of Champaign. Her work is inspired by aerial views. 

When Kelly was a girl, her grandfather took her up for an airplane ride to view the city from above. “I was captivated by what I saw, the way the interstates make a clover when they intersect, the colors and patterns in the fields, the way our urban life meshes with the cultivated land”. The view and the photographs  that they took that day inspired her work even now. Today she is interpreting these fields thru painting/carvings on wood.

  • Art form: Pain, Sculpture, Screen-print
  • Influences: Charlie and Edie Harper, Mies van der Rohe, and Grant Haffner.
  • Workspace: Independent studio
  • Dream collaboration: People that have a like-minded approach to art & design.
  • Current project: “Fields” painting/carvings on wood.
  • Recommended movie: The episode of Doctor Who when they go back to investigate a Van Gogh painting after seeing in an exhibit in London.
  • Favorite spot in C-U: Willard Airport and ArMart.
  • Thoughts on the art scene in C-U: “There are some crazy-talented individuals here.  I’m looking forward to spending more time with the C-U art community in the years to come”.
  • Where to see his work: at Common Ground in the Flatlander classroom.

Smile Politely: When and how did you decide to become an artist?

Kelly Hieronymus: Art has always been a part of me, and how I define myself. I wish I could say there was a light bulb moment, but this is how it’s always been a compulsion, a need to create, design, and build.

Three years ago, I met Mark. Mark is a pilot, he took me back into the sky and reintroduced me to the land that surrounds this area. At the time, I was printing my fields using blocks of screen printed color as fields, and India ink for the boundaries (roads, creeks, tree lines). Over the years, I have been able to experience the land during every season: my favorite being the way the show drifts across the land during the winter, it gets caught on corn stocks and tilled the land. My painting/carvings on wood are my most recent interpretation.

SP: Who would you like to collaborate with and why?

Hieronymus: My day job requires me to collaborate with my clients, and with the other design professionals in the Central Illinois region. To me, it’s beyond rewarding to see a completed space and think of all of the creative and skilled people that were involved to finish the project. So  I think the answer would be everyone. I would like to collaborate with everyone! 

SP: Tell us about your workspace.

Hieronymus: My studio is in our home, and I love working here. I am also an Interior Designer, which is based out of our home as well and I would be more inclined to move that to another location before I moved my studio.

SP: Choose a piece of your artwork and explain it in detail.

Hieronymus: I start every painting the same way: a plain paint grade poplar, beech, or maple. I don’t plan my paintings out, I might shoot for a color combination, but that´s as far as it goes. I try to repeat the process of a farmer in the field planting and harvesting, and the visual mark left behind, with many layers of paint, and sometimes patching carved lines, repainting, and re-carving. One of my goals is to never let a painting die I try to finish every painting I start. Even if I’m not happy with the space between the lines carved, I will move color around to make it look ‘right’.

SP: What movie would you recommend to watch and why?

Hieronymus: After seeing the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute today, go watch the episode of Doctor Who when they go back to investigate a Van Gogh painting after seeing in an exhibit in London. Without exposing too much of my geek side, I will say one of my favorite parts of this episode, and the series as a whole is the juxtaposition between science(fiction) and humanity.

SP: What is your favorite spot in C-U?

Hieronymus: Currently Willard Airport and ArtMart.

SP: What do you think about the art scene in C-U?

Hieronymus: I love the University and the effect it has on the community. There are so many brilliant programs and people. On the other hand, there is an extremely vibrant artist community in C-U that exists outside of the walls of the University. I’m looking forward to spending more time with the C-U art community in the years to come.

SP: Where, when and how can we see your work?

Hieronymus: My work is on display currently at Common Ground in the Flatlander classroom. I’m not sure what’s next, but I hope to be around for a while.

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