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Kelsey Schultis | Studio Visit

We are excited to launch new paintings by Detroit-based artist Kelsey Shultis. Shultis studied at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague, Czech Republic and received her BFA with honors from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. She works predominately in oil paint, exploring the life of objects and environments and their transition to disorder and termination. 

Tell us about this series of work?

I’m doing a lot of works on paper and I just started weaving. They’re all sketches or studies for paintings.

I have a bad habit of overworking larger canvases. I tend to, or at least lately, have been working them into the ground trying to make them perfect, or to find their perfect state. I know intellectually that this is impossible, but it gets a hold of me sometimes when I’m working and I can’t drop it.

So, these smaller works on paper are a necessary respite for me at the moment, and I think will be a necessary tool for me forever. They get me out of my head and into my head at the same time… Helps me cut through the thinking bullshit and get to the heart of the idea or feeling.

Sometimes it is hard for me to understand smaller works, but I am so much enjoying doing these. I can’t overwork them. Well - that’s not true; I can and I do sometimes, but something about them limits my obsessive revisions and allows me to enjoy everything as it is...t see potential and nix the perfectionism.


Where do you source your materials?

I like children’s books, old fairy tale illustrations, chromo-lithographs, daguerrotypes, garden books, old photo albums.

I take a lot of crappy photos myself and use those for reference quite a bit. I’ve got a few thousand photos of moss, still doesn’t seem like enough. I took another 75 this morning. 


What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days? 

Oh boy, there are quite a few more than one. But I’m completely infatuated with Allison Schulnik. I mean, she’s done it. She is it. The thing. I’m so totally in awe and in love with her work. She herself, I imagine, is a painting.

Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, all I want to do is apprentice for her. Unpaid internship, whatever.


What country do you wish to visit?



What motivates you to create?

To find my most honest voice and self through painting.

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

The radio show Car Talk. I love it.

What's something you will not be doing in 10 years?

Snoozing, I hope. I’ve got a terrible sleeping habit.



 What's one thing you still have from your childhood? 

Fairy Winkles (They’re tiny little forest fairies with sparkles)


When do you make your best work?

Late morning/early afternoon.  Anytime after 11 I guess. It takes me forever to wake up. Hence the snoozing problem. 


Is art making therapeutic for you?

Sometimes, except when I feel like a complete fraudulent good for nothing never amount to anything won’t have another good idea for the rest of my stupid idiot.


Did you grow up around other creative people?

My dad is an architect, otherwise no, not really.


What are your other hobbies?

Boxing and dancing and making anything in general, any craft anytime. And aspiring to be a back yard mechanic. 


What’s next for you?

I’m going to Sweden to paint for a few weeks.

Explore Kelsey's available work.