For the month of July, SALT Gallery (830 Fleming St., www.saltislandprovisions.com) is showing “Pulchra Creaturae (Beautiful Creatures),” a new collection of whimsical mixed media paintings by local artist Kreg Kelley. This week is the last to view Kreg’s new works.
A Key West-based artist as of summer 2013, Kreg won his first art award at the age of 12 with the Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards Program for a drawing titled “Holocaust.” Throughout his teenage life he experimented in different artistic mediums, but it wasn’t until 2003 that his art became more of a full-on hobby. Aside from abstraction and 3D works on canvas, he incorporates damaged antique engravings and artifacts from the 18th and 19th century into his pieces. Several of his pieces are in world-renowned chef Gerry Garvin’s restaurant in Hollywood and he participated in a group show in NYC featuring works by Yoko Ono. In the summer of 2010 his painting of “Washington, DC: Night in the City Series” was chosen to be featured in the national calendar for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Kreg’s works hang on walls across the world — including Amsterdam, Canada, Brazil, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Australia, France, Japan, Italy, Spain and the U.K. Most notably, his works hang in the homes of the former King of Spain, Doc Rivers and actress/comedian Jane Lynch. Upon moving to Key West, Kreg immediately became an active member of Council of the arts Florida Keys, the Anne McKee Art Fund and The Studios of Key West. Throughout his time in Key West, Kreg has collectively donated over $25,000 in artwork to such organizations as the Florida Keys SPCA, the Sister Season Fund, the Key West Wildlife Center, the Special Olympics of Florida – Monroe County, Womankind, Grimal Grove – Big Pine Tree Conservation, The Trevor Project and AIDS HELP Key West.
Although he spent many years living in urban areas, Kreg has adjusted quickly to island life. “One of the main reasons I moved to Key West was to focus on my work and the tropical beauty of Key West is not only relaxing but also conducive to my creative process,” Kreg explains. “While D.C. was a fantastic part of my life, offering some of the best inspirational art in the world at the Smithsonian Institute or the Philips Collection, the island life is much more my cup of tea. I prefer the ‘stop and smell the roses’ way of life, and this environment is perfect for that.”
“What I love most about Kreg’s pieces is how he infuses his beautiful creations with such whimsy,” says gallery owner Laura Richardson. “The way he utilizes salvaged antiques overlaid with modern artistic techniques is absolutely fascinating and unique. We are always so thrilled to have Kreg back on the walls at SALT.”
“’Pulchra Creaturae (Beautiful Creatures)’” focuses on the whimsical beauty of sea nymphs, incorporating characters and stories from Greek mythology,” Kreg describes. “Myths have always inspired my art, and this has been my first show dedicated to female beauty inspired by ancient times.”
SALT Gallery features an eclectic collection of local art, local sea salts, jewelry, pottery, wine and Florida Keys honey. Gallery owners Maria Sharpe and Laura Richardson feature a new artist each month at SALT. Kreg’s work will remain on display until the end of July. For more information, call 305-517-6088 or visit www.saltislandprovisions.com. ¦