“One More Time” commemorative mural is complete!

This expansive mural wraps around the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Jackson Avenue, lighting up the corner with a bright and joyful color palette. It was painted to honor Big Chief Bo Dollis Sr. of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians. Bo Dollis grew up on Jackson Ave, and now this magnificent portrait is permanently installed in his neighborhood. The surrounding residents love the mural and are proud to have it adorn the corner!      

“Flora Arcana” exhibition to open during Prospect 4 New Orleans

Monica Kelly Studio presents: "Flora Arcana" A journey into the human emotional body through the energetic frequencies of flowers. Opening reception: Saturday, November 18th, 6pm - 11pm Monica Kelly Studio 1401 Laharpe St., New Orleans 70116 Owner/Artist Monica Rose Kelly presents her most recent and most personal body of work. Through a series of water-based paintings, Monica illustrates the healing modality of flower essence therapy. The energy of different flora can have a direct healing impact on our own emotional patterns. Monica illustrates what our emotional bodies look like when imbalanced, when undergoing energetic healing, and when they become balanced as a result. Official Prospect 4 Satellite location  

“Power in Colors” for the Women’s March on Washington!

"Power in Colors" is the peaceful protest sign that I designed for the Women's March on Washington. I ran a GoFundMe campaign to produce 50 signs, digitally printed on corrugated plastic. The campaign was so successful that I doubled the goal and made 100 signs -- 65 were sent on a bus to D.C. and the rest were carried in New Orleans.

This design communicates the essence of America the beautiful; that our POWER lies in our diversity. Our great-great-great grandparents came from every corner of the planet to create this nation, and our strength and versatility come from our multitudes of colors. We must stand for unity, empathy, and respect, now more than ever.

Additionally, The Amplifier Foundation has selected this design to be featured in their nationally touring exhibition titled "Hear Our Voice", showing 50 featured signs from the Women's March on Washington. The sign has also been chosen by the Historic New Orleans Collection for their archive of protest signs from the Women's March. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support, as it has been very affirming of my decision to use visual communication to facilitate social awareness and change.

“Heart of the City” print release

This painting features the beating "Heart of the City", an iconic representation of the culture of New Orleans overlaid on a map of the Mississippi River Crescent. The banana flower echoes this symbology and reminds us that our communities will continue to bloom as we pour in our love and resources. These fine art giclée prints are now exclusively available in the Monica Kelly Studio web shop in two custom sizes: 18x30" and 13x21".

Monica Kelly Studio has a new home!

On April 1st, 2016, I purchased my first home here in New Orleans (no joke). Since that day, I've undergone major series of renovations including rebuilding the foundation, reframing the front wall, reinforcing the ceiling, and soooo much more. It's been such a birthing process, from the time I made the offer on Thanksgiving to making it through my first summer full of rain. I've been blessed with the help of some very skilled and trustworthy contractors throughout the process, and this old quirky gem is finally starting to stand up straight again! I'm finally in here and making it beautiful. The downstairs is set up as a gallery to show my paintings, and will also serve as a healing space for my flower essence therapy practice (more on that later). My working studio is upstairs. The house is on a really energetic corner in the 7th ward, which gives it a unique triangle shape. I'll be posting more updates as I slowly make my new home a work of art. Dreams really do come true, as long as you figure out exactly what you want and WORK YOUR A$$ off to get it!
me-at-the-door me-and-rainbow-and-house
in-progress greg-working

Magazine Street Art Market opens for business!

I am proud to announce the birth of a collaboration that's been in the works since January. The magical Magazine Street Art Market is now open for business! Located in the courtyard of Dat Dog on 3336 Magazine St., the market will rotate juried groups of fine artists and craftsmen every Friday night (4-10pm) and Saturday day (10-5pm). The art market will be run between Monica Kelly Studio and Dat Dog, and we've put a wonderful team in place. The beautiful logo lettering was created by my studiomate Ashlee Arceneaux, owner of Smallchalk. I painted the mural in the courtyard in collaboration with Ashlee, Max Rasche (Dogslobber) and Gabe Flores (Inkwell Press). We've hired an incredible booking manager, Emily Swietlik, and Marisa Creed of Quarter Girl Films helped us prepare the market for success. Dat Dog's management has been instrumental in preparing the space and supplying equipment to keep our artists happy. Hope to see you out there one weekend soon!  

Limited Edition for the Oak Street Block Party

Last night, I screen-printed a limited edition of (75) 3-color posters for the legendary Oak Street Block Party. McNally, my ride-or-die assistant, helped pull these prints and then my dear friend Ben Harwood took over for the late night shift. The edition turned out beautifully, with lots of fun variations in gradient and color. Thanks to the NOLA Community Print Shop for keeping your doors open late and allowing us to complete the edition! You'll be seeing more silkscreened editions in my web shop soon.

Illustrated labels for NOLA Brewing’s FUNK Series

Today marks the release of "Lowerline", the first beer of NOLA Brewing's FUNK Series for which I have designed & illustrated the labels. The FUNK Series features different varieties of sour ales which are named after the streets of New Orleans. These high-end brews are limited to 1000 bottles per batch. This collaboration has allowed me to express my love for this city by personifying different street names into real and fictional characters. As each brew is released, I will post detailed images on my illustration portfolio page. Photo credit: Taylor Seidler, Creative Director of Beer Advocate
new-helmet

Swampbeats helmet design

My latest helmet design features a gator spirit on each side with teeth reminiscent of heartbeats on a pulse rate chart. This one is customized with the Scorpio constellation in gold on the top. It screams "I'M ALIVE, and I plan on staying this way." PROTECT YA NECK!

The “Gravity Roots” hats have finally arrived!

This very special collaboration with Grassroots California and New Orleans’ own Gravity A funktronica band has been two years in the making. The hat features an embroidered alligator with piano scales slinking along the NOLA skyline. The interior lining has a custom map of the Mississippi River and New Orleans wards. The concept started with a hand-painted prototype hat, which evolved into a vector-based design and went through many variations. We finally nailed it and are so excited to present this product to our fans! Lionel_hat

#ChalkArmy at Whole Foods Market Cherry Hill

Allow me to introduce the new and unstoppable Chalk Army! From the left... Myself, Kelly Franklin, Carol Paist, and Liz McErlean. Not pictured but definitely legendary, Tegan Belitta is the chalk artist who originally trained me as her assistant at Whole Foods Market North Wales, PA. I then was hired as Store Artist at WFM Jenkintown, and helped open WFM Plymouth Meeting. Eventually I moved here to New Orleans as Store Artist of WFM Arabella Station. After a year at Arabella, I parted ways with the company to open Monica Kelly Studio in 2012. I'm so lucky to have been invited back up North to join forces with my home team once again, for the opening of WFM Cherry Hill! Chalk Army is the name we've coined to describe this bigger & badder collaborative of chalk artists, now specializing in store openings. We worked for 10 days straight creating all of the hand-lettered and illustrated signage for the new grocery store. It was such a valuable experience -- Not only did I get to reunite with these ever-evolving artistas, but we exchanged countless ideas, tips & tricks during our time together. Next stop for Chalk Army is WFM Columbia, MD in August!

T-Bois 2014

This past weekend I attended T-Bois (Cajun for "Lil' Woods"), a unique blues festival which takes place in the swamps of Larose, Louisiana. I had the time of my life listening to deep, wrenching delta blues while enjoying beer by NOLA Brewing and heart-warming Cajun food prepared by local chefs. It rained all weekend, but that didn't stop anybody from eating, drinking, and dancing their way through the festivities. During the dry hours I had the honor of painting a mural for the NOLA Burning Man Community, which was set aflame at the end of the weekend. It encompassed one 10x10' face of an open cube, in the middle of which a pyre was constructed. T-Bois takes place on the Falgout Alligator Farm, so I painted a "Germaid", an alligator mermaid. This photo captures me adding some final bloody details in the firelight of another pyre. The experience of watching my artwork burn was unlike anything I could have possibly anticipated. First, the artwork darkened as flames shot out from the middle of the cube. Then, the edges caught and the fire illuminated the mural. Smoke swirled around the composition and brought it to life. Then, the middle seam of the wood started to leak streams of smoke, until flames shot through, engulfing the Germaid. She peeled and bent and succumbed to the raging flames, until one final shred of wood remained for a moment bearing my initials, MRK.

Supporting music in New Orleans and our right to make noise!

In response to a recent stringent noise ordinance proposal, the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans organized a rally at City Hall. Crowds of musicians, artists, and culture bearers came out of the noisy woodwork of our city to drive the point home: WE LIVE LOUD here in New Orleans. We LOVE our music, we LOVE the sounds of the city, and our many decibels make NOLA the music capital of the world! I created this banner as a contribution to the cause. We carried it into the City Council Chambers, leading a second line parade with an army of brass instruments. We stormed the chambers in full force and the musicians played funeral dirges to lay the ordinance to rest. Only in New Orleans.

Be safe & Stay Fly with a custom-painted bike helmet!

I am now painting custom helmets for Dashing Bicycles & Accessories here in NOLA! This collaboration is exciting not only because I get to create fresh designs that will be seen on the streets, but because I think we can make safety COOL again. Not many people here in New Orleans wear bike helmets, so hopefully we can change that fact by making them super fly. Get yours today for $110! Email me at mkellystudio@gmail.com for design questions and visit www.dashingnola.com to see everything they have to offer.

Live Painting at the Community Works fundraiser

Tonight I brought one of my very artistically inclined students, Jamal, to live paint with me at the Community Works fundraiser. Jamal has never had an art class before this year, but he loves anime cartoons and has been exploring different drawing styles. On our way to the fundraiser he said "I'm nervous about painting in front of a crowd, but I think this could make me really famous -- Like Jean Michel Basquiat!" The subject matter I chose was our school, Arise Academy. We used a reference photo of the building, and I asked Jamal to think of imaginative elements for the background. He chose the sunshine logo that the students sport on their uniforms. We painted side by side on easels (his first time using one) and inspired each other's work. A jazz band played close to us and fed the creative vibe. Look at the results!

Proud new owners of the Hot Dawg Diva!

This past weekend I attended Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, Florida. It was a beautiful weekend (despite a little rain) full of funk music, live painting, old friends and new. Upon our arrival I met with my good friends James and Melissa from Key West, who purchased the sexy "Hot Dawg Diva" for their home. This painting was created live in New Orleans at Diva Dawg, for a New Orleans Society of Fly Ladies fundraiser event. We all know how much I enjoy painting thick, curvalicious women embodying their power. I'm delighted to see her go to such a good home!

Dia de los Muertos Parade Painting Party

The Bywater's Dia de los Muertos parade is my absolute favorite of the year. This year was particularly special because we threw a face painting extravaganza prior to joining the masses. My sister Madeleine and I, along with two other painters, transformed a party of approximately 50 people into a mob of skull-faced mourners. We adorned them with traditional sugar skull designs of every possible variation. It was the least we could do to compliment the incredible procession. The orchestra bellowed out upbeat funeral marches and heart-wrenching dirges. We marched to the levee and partook in an elaborate ceremony, which involved creating an altar and taking it to the river to burn in effigy. The choir sang invoking chants as the crowd of hundreds fell silent. It was a truly moving ritual; illuminating the deepest and darkest parts of ourselves as we honored those who have passed.

Farewell to Jazz in the Park! Until Spring…

Season 4 of Jazz in the Park has been explosive! This festival keeps getting better, and our family at People United for Armstrong Park has created a well-oiled machine. So much soul, so much song, so much FIYAH! We've successfully brought our community back into the park to enjoy its highest purpose -- FREE MUSIC FOR ALL. I've been blessed with the opportunity to paint on stage this season with some of my favorite musicians, including Cyril Neville, Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers, and Rebirth Brass Band. Our official merchandise tent has been jam-packed with every season's collectibles, as well as the live paintings I've created on stage. Signed and numbered posters are still available in limited quantities, and you can purchase right here in my web shop! Save the date for April 17th! We'll see you back in Louis Armstrong Park for more music and art, all Spring long.

NOLAFLY + Dancing Grounds Pop-Up Show is back!

Our bi-monthly party is back again, and we are ready to tear it up at the Hi-Ho Lounge! I am the featured visual artist, and my entire body of work will be on display for the months of November and December. Our network of young, creative, and powerful women, The New Orleans Society of Fly Ladies, has collaborated with Dancing Grounds Speakeasy Studio in the Bywater to help raise funds for their new studio. Tonight's event will feature the launch of their new Kickstarter campaign video, as well as amazing music and dance performances. Then DJ Soul Sister will usher in her Saturday Night Hustle party to top it all off. This is our first Pop-Up outside of the speakeasy studio -- it's sure to be a success!

Silkscreening with students to raise awareness about violence

These shirt designs were created by my students at Waldo Burton Boys Home in protest of gun violence. I implemented this project in response to the Mother's Day shooting here in New Orleans, especially because this is a very high-risk group of students. First, we had some long discussions about gun violence, and shared personal experiences and reflections about the use of guns. Then we discussed the power of imagery to change minds, and how artwork can spread messages and cause new ways of thinking. I explained to the boys that one quick way to spread images is by wearing them on shirts. We then brainstormed together and came up with some catchy, uplifting messages to be paired with illustrations. They boys came up with the concepts of "Rise Up" and "Change the Station", and drew the illustrations. We then created silkscreens and printed our own shirts.

Yoga in the Heart of the World

I just booked my flight to Cartagena, Colombia for February 7th! I will be participating as well as guiding painting meditations, and teaching a flower essence healing workshop. I am so thrilled to take advantage of this opportunity to create in a beautiful environment and connect with the Divine Feminine on sacred land. Please consider joining us!  (flyer design by yours truly)