Kelly De Meyer is not interested in art as it were. Her passion is people, her search is one for those human similarities that might take us towards something like a truth that suits the whole species. She’s looking for this beneath the surface, under the clothes; using psychology and emotion as the foundations for expressing her own vocabulary. Can a word really communicate our feelings?
With exceptional precision and an intimate vulnerable approach, the young Belgian illustrator tries to get there in images. Her pictures tell stories.
The narratives are tender, but not gentle. They are somehow aware that the image can always only be the surface, and when you start staring into the skin of her work, smooth flesh reveals its scars, things get darker, and Kelly gingerly pushes you to walk away from the light. Don’t be afraid. All you can find in there is yourself.
How many days a week do you eat breakfast?
I don’t do breakfast, only very late brunches.
What’s your first memory of making art?
I don’t have any spectacular stories where I can explain how I used to scrabble uncontrollably on furniture and walls as a young child.
It all kind of started when I got acquainted with psychology and sociology in high school and my need to comprehend our society and people’s bizarre quirks. Along the way I developed an interest in trying to capture this in images.
What are a few key moments or events that got your art to where it is today?
I think it started when I stopped trying to please my professors in college and gave up on the thought of what was expected from me. Start pursuing my own ideas without worrying about the consequences.
I have been fortunate to receive a couple of nice possibilities right after I graduated. Being published in Addict magazine, my first commission by CGGZ (Brussels) and receiving the support from Gynaika created room for other opportunity.
Name three things to do before you die.
Get acquainted with the concept better known as patience, find a place that I can turn into my own and experience orgasms of several sorts.
Any near death experiences?
I’m allergic to paracetamol, once I went in for a small operation to have my tonsils removed. I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic. With the result that I swell up till I looked like a Lion Head goldfish closing off my air pipe and nearly died.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself when you were a teenager what advice would you give?
I’m not sure if I ever was a teenager. So I guess my advice would be: live a little, be less responsible and stay away from snails that smile without their teeth showing.
Top 5 Most Played songs on your iTunes list (don’t be embarrassed).
Tori Amos – Siren
Lhasa De Sela – The Living Road
Radiohead – Street Spirit
Aqualung – Strange & Beautiful
Kate Nash – Dickhead
Describe one dream project that you would realize given the full backing you would need?
I would love to get some support for my forthcoming project. Which will be explained later on.
Other than that I would care for finding this worn out cosy space to perk up into my own modest gallery, shop and atelier. Where my own criteria counts of what is considered as art and I have full freedom to do as I please together with the people that inspire me.
Where have you travelled to in the past 12 months?
Unfortunately I don’t get the opportunity to travel as much as I would like to, so I gathered a lot of credit miles going to ‘Dreamland’. Last places I visited were London, Madrid, Rotterdam, France.
When you’re back home what is one place you go that inspires you?
It used to be the wharf in Temse, when evening falls and it becomes dark and completely isolated.
About 3 years ago I moved to Antwerp. I haven’t found a place so far. I think it might be my four daily forced train rides between Antwerp and Brussels.
Most inspiring so far has been a little space under the armpit of a certain somebody.
What is one of your biggest vices?
My biggest vice is being a control freak. I get seriously uncomfortable each time I’m confronted with a situation I can’t resolve or don’t have an overview on. I have difficulties with issues I can’t comprehend and the nasty habit of not letting go until I find an explanation that seems acceptable.
Have you been to art school?
Yes , but I’m not sure if art school ever visited me.
What does the phrase “no new enemies” mean to you?
It’s a experimental playground for artists, freaks, friends and clowns where there is room for strong emotion and progress.
Any new projects coming up?
I’m working at the moment on this project called ‘Chimera’. It’s the first one that is not only about my view on a certain subject, but based on a personal experience and semi autobiographical. An occurrence that turned into an afterthought which has been yearning to get shaped.
The project is about the inner emotional turmoil most of us have felt. The reflection on the decisions we made and a search to find some sort of truth. The struggle of what we are accustomed to and conditioned by versus what we instinctively experience.
I would say this is for all those hungry critters who love to consume and stock up on feel good products. Those who wear depression as the latest fashion accessory, but undone by its authentic character. Who hide behind apathy, criticism and impartial views out of ease and fear to undertake themselves.