Fine Art Encaustic Photographer


Artist statement:


I first started taking photographs when I was about 12, by borrowing my Dad’s Pentax 35mm camera. Early mishaps included bravely photographing a wild boar and her babies, only to find out (after being charged by the mum) that there was no film in the camera! However the camera remained in my possession and slowly, through lots of trial and error, I began to harness the magic of photography, an amazing feeling which has stayed with me to this day.


I have been exhibiting Fine Art Photography in Galleries in the U.S since 1998 and in the U.K since 2004. My photographs represent a collaboration of ideas in the camera and the computer, utilising photographic and digital techniques. They may be photographically manipulated, i.e photographing the subject out of focus, or digitally manipulated, by layering images or textures together conceptually.


The organic or distressed aesthetic, which is created by layering photographs of found textures such as close-ups of stonewalls, brush strokes on canvas, or scratches on photographic film.


To digitally layer a brushstroke, grainy or scratchy image over a pristine photograph, degrading the image and breaking fundamental photographic rules is important in my work as an artist, to communicate the medium in an alternative way, to provoke memory in the viewer by offering nostalgic references in the brushstroke or scratch, paying homage to artists like Turner, Constable and Giacometti. Ultimately, I strive to create a cohesive body of work which encompasses a broad range of styles, from the large depth of field (in focus) scenes in Cityscapes and Landscapes, to the shallow depth of field (out of focus) in the abstract images, shot in silhouette, where the textural layers take on a more prominent role. The Printing and Finishing process is the final stage of my work, which employs Museum quality Giclee (Archival Pigment Inkjet) technology. The images are printed on 315 gsm Smooth Fine Art, Cotton Rag Watercolour paper and coated with U.V Varnish in Limited Editions of 25.




"Kelly blurs the line between photography and painting. His subject matter, ranging from images of the natural world (flora and fauna), to urban and residential landscapes, focuses on the individual's place in a given environment as expressed by his or her body language. For example, in the work, 'Beach Kids', Kelly depicts a beach in Newport, California, in which the shore's wide expanse of yellow sand is divided by a white line of froth from the band of grey ocean; This in turn is divided by the horizon from the immense, grey-blue sky." Review provided by 'New York Artworld' magazine, 2004.


"Pete Kelly's latest show evokes memory through strong associative, emotional and surreal imagery, stretching reality toward a timeless fantasia. Through his collection, Kelly invites viewers to not only bear witness to the moments he has captured in frame, but provides tangible windows of access in each piece, rousing their faded cache of memories and permitting them to relive each experience as if it were their own". This is an excerpt from the press release from my fourth solo show at Robin Rice Gallery, Greenwich Village, NY in September, 2010.


Work currently in Permanent Photographic Collections:


Polo Ralph Lauren (Global Stores) Soho House Hotels, The Krebs, Dow & Jones, Sloan-Kettering, Bloomingdales, Macy's, IKEA, Felix Rosensteils, The Connaught Hotel, Williamsburg Art & Historical Society, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ken Jones Jr Fine Art and many other private collectors.


If the Print is being finished with Beeswax, using the Photo Encaustic process ( an archival finishing technique which I originally learned from Robert Von, a Photography Professor at NYU in New York, (2003) and since developed in my own style. I have gone on to teach Photo Encaustic workshops at Applied Arts School in Amagansett, New York and for the RPS (Royal Photographic Society) in U.K. Photo Encaustic, an emerging process in Fine Art Photography circles is an ancient practice of mixing Beeswax with Damar Resin, (or tree sap in it's rawest form). An offshoot of Encaustic Painting, which is using pigments in the wax.


It's not just the archival, painterly, tactile and non-reflective qualities that are important to me, also the gradual decline of the global Bee population is a passionate topic for me, if I can bring awareness through my work, it adds another 'layer' of relevance and another perspective to what I'm trying to achieve in a piece of Art. Art and Relics in Pharoah's tombs contain pristine Encaustic Wax Paintings, I'm utilising this technique in a modern context, encasing Fine Art Photographs on prepared board. A hollow board substrate is created, once the board has been prepared with Gesso, I glue the print down with acid-free adhesive and when dry, coat with U.V varnish. The wax can now be applied.


I have been involved in the 'Digital Revolution' since it's inception, adapting and combining photographic and darkroom techniques digitally. In 1999 I won a Silver award at the 'New York Festivals' advertising awards, for a series of images. In 2000 I taught 'Digital Imaging' at 'The New School' in New York City.


Born in Cumbria, England in 1966, son of a military man and grew up in Germany with British Forces Schools, where I was introduced to the fundamentals of photography in 1984, by completing a six month ‘YTS’ (Internship) course in Photography at the ‘Royal Air Force Photographic Unit’ Wildenrath. Moved to U.K to study Graphic Design at Stockport College in 1986. An opportunity arose to move to the U.S.A in 1987 and stayed until 2003, living in West Palm Beach Florida, Kansas City Missouri, Brooklyn New York & Upstate, New York as well as Santa Fe, New Mexico. I worked as an assistant for many well known and talented photographers before I started to receive my own commissions and start my own studio. The decision to explore the United States lasted 16 years and has benefited me greatly as a visual artist. Since returning to the U.K in 2004, I’ve found many interesting subjects to photograph from Equestrian themes such as Racehorses to Landscapes inspired by Turner.


Permanent Photographic Collections: -

'The Dow & Jones', New York. -

'Sloan-Kettering' New York. -

'Robin Rice Gallery’, Manhattan, New York. -

Bloomingdales, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C. -

Polo Ralph Lauren, New York, Paris, London. -

Macy's, New York. -

Ken Jones Jr Fine Art, New York. -

Jerry Bruckheimer, Kentucky, USA. -

The Connaught Hotel, London. -

'Williamsburg Art & Historical Society’, New York. -

'707 Contemporary', Santa Fe, New Mexico. -

'Aspen International Art', Aspen, Colorado. -

'Carrie Haddad Gallery’, Hudson, New York. -

'Keeshan's Fine Art’, Kansas City, Missouri. -

‘Gallery 22’, Hale, Cheshire, U.K -

‘Calvin Charles Gallery’ Scottsdale, Arizona. -

‘Lunar Boy Gallery’ Astoria, Oregon.


Solo Exhibitions:


1997 - Red Chair Gallery, Kansas City, MO.

2002 - Robin Rice Gallery, Greenwich Village, NY.

2002 - Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY.

2002 - '707 Contemporary' Santa Fe, New Mexico.

2004 - Robin Rice Gallery, Greenwich Village, NY.

2005 – ‘Lunar Boy Gallery’ Astoria, Oregon.

2005 – ‘Calvin Charles Gallery’, Scottsdale, Arizona.

2005 – 'Marziart Internationale’ Hamburg., Germany.

2006 – ‘Robin Rice Gallery’, Greenwich Village, NY.

2007 – LondonArt, London, U.K

2008 – Corner Gallery, London, U.K

2008 – The Crown Estate, Windsor Gt Park Conservatory Gallery, U.K

2009 - Jarva Gallery, Whaley Bridge, Peak District, U.K.

2010 - Milk Gallery, Rose Charities, New York.

2010 – Robin Rice Gallery, Greenwich Village, New York.

2011 – The Jarva Gallery, Whaley Bridge, Peak District, U.K.

2013 – St. Giles St Gallery, Norwich, U.K.

2014 – The Corner Gallery, London, U.K Gallery