March Studio Update

Kelly M O’Brien,  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych, detail) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych, detail) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

In Like a Lion...

March roared in with a heavy workload and travel-wrecking winds, but that didn't thwart efforts to finish and ship eighteen pieces of original artwork, introduce a new series, and participate in a one-week residency in Germany.

Read on for all the details. "Out like a lamb" feels elusive but I'm optimistic!

Introducing: Stitch


Kelly M O’Brien,  Stitch No. 1  Paper, cotton thread. 12 x 12 in | 30 x 30 cm. ©2019 Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Stitch No. 1 Paper, cotton thread. 12 x 12 in | 30 x 30 cm. ©2019 Photography: Image Centre

Since starting my MFA last year, several clients have asked about the materials I've been using – mainly paper and thread – and how they might show up in work available for commission. 

Earlier this year I started experimenting and am pleased to introduce Stitch, a new series that celebrates the beauty of stitching into paper. As with my Playing With Fire series, this work will explore form, line, texture, and pattern using simple materials that transform in surprising ways.

My intention is to introduce one new Stitch piece per quarter and gradually grow the collection as I have with PWF. I can now take commissions for this series – perhaps these images of No. 1 might inspire your next client project?

Commission: JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC

Kelly M O’Brien,  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

If you recall last month, I shared sketches of a new commission for the JW Marriott Hotel inspired by a map of Washington, DC. We finished the work this week: three map diptychs plus three additional pieces for a total of nine originals!

Kelly M O'Brien. Playing With Fire No. 84-86  Paper, gold leaf, flame. 18 x 14 x 1 in | 46 x 36 x 2.5 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

This is the latest of several maps I've done, all highly challenging and fun (especially this one of my hometown).

You can learn more about the process behind the map diptychs here.

Kelly M O'Brien.  Playing With Fire No. 84-86  Paper, gold leaf, flame. 18 x 14 x 1 in | 46 x 36 x 2.5 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

Kelly M O'Brien. Playing With Fire No. 84-86 Paper, gold leaf, flame. 18 x 14 x 1 in | 46 x 36 x 2.5 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

Commission: Norwegian Cruise Line 'Encore'

Work in progress. Kelly M O'Brien.  Playing With Fire No. 87-89  Paper, gold leaf, flame. 28 x 28 x 1.5 in | 71 x 71 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for Norwegian Cruise Line  Encore.

Work in progress. Kelly M O'Brien. Playing With Fire No. 87-89 Paper, gold leaf, flame. 28 x 28 x 1.5 in | 71 x 71 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for Norwegian Cruise Line Encore.

My work is floating around on several Norwegian Cruise Line ships and these three pieces will now be joining Encore. They are framed in contemporary brushed gold wooden frames. Thank you to the fab team at Soho Myriad for this opportunity and to Meltone Framers in Bath for the great framing job!

Re-framed: Presentation Is Everything

Sometimes all it takes is imagination! Three pieces recently sold to a new collector, to be re-framed as a set in these gorgeous frames, shown above. Thank you to Visto Images for finding my work and for the inspiring re-frame!

Framing really does make all the difference. I work with several excellent framers here in Bath and am happy to frame my work to fulfill your client's vision.

Residency: Bad Kissingen, Germany

Kelly M O'Brien, work in progress during CKCK Residency, Bad Kissingen, Germany ©2019

Kelly M O'Brien, work in progress during CKCK Residency, Bad Kissingen, Germany ©2019

Earlier this month, I spent a week in Bad Kissingen, Germany participating in a residency with the artist collaborative CKCK. It's amazing what is possible in one week – I showed up with my tools, some sketches, sourced materials from the local hardware store and got to work!

My focus was on testing ideas and creating prototypes for work that will eventually be for my MFA degree show in September. I'm really pleased with what got accomplished, especially with the support and critical feedback of my CKCK colleagues.

More about our residency and images here. I will share images of the prototypes I made via my Instagram feed (click on the STUDIO button at the top of my feed), so please follow along to see them!