Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Kelly moved to Winnipeg at the age of five and lived there until the end of 2011. Always having a penchant for the arts, Kelly spent a lot of her childhood drawing, singing, dancing to 80’s music videos with her dad and making crafts out of anything she could get her hands on. Her mother’s custom gift-basket business – operated out of the house while she took care of the kids – was, to Kelly, an infinite world of opportunity to experiment with ribbons and paper, cutters and paint (and the occasional box of chocolates). Trips to the wholesale craft store were nothing short of heaven for Kelly – a blissful sensory overload of glitter, feathers and sequins with the mixed aroma of dried eucalyptus and Aleen’s “Tacky Glue”. If she was lucky, Mom would buy her a bag of colorful beads or a couple blocks of Fimo clay that Kelly could use to create fabulous pieces of jewelry to add to her ever-growing collection. Today, Kelly still gets the same sense of elation in discovering and manipulating an unfamiliar medium or found object into something new and beautiful.
Going into her early teenage years, Kelly belonged to a musical theatre company that performed locally as well as in Disney Land (California) and Disney World (Florida), among other venues. While she enjoyed the performance aspect of the company, Kelly was really excited about the opportunity to have a hand in some of the set work painting scenery and backdrops. That bit of experience she gained in the field may explain why later in life, after dabbling in several programs over three years at the University of Manitoba (including Business Marketing and Environmental Design), Kelly finally found herself content in the Production Design for Film and Theatre program at the University of Winnipeg. The program allowed Kelly to work in a diverse range of media through costume design, set design, and various creative projects.
The first two years after university held several explorations of potential career paths – from apprenticing as a tattoo artist to starting up a custom-decorated cookie business. In January of 2011, Kelly took a big leap with two big suitcases out East to Toronto. She quickly found freelance work as a visual stylist and scenic painter for film and television and eventually took on a position with retailer Holt Renfrew’s flagship Bloor Street location in downtown Toronto as the Prop and Scenic Stylist for their window and interior displays. Most recently, Kelly has brought her experience and creative vision into a new chapter as an Assistant Art Director with the Directors’ Guild of Canada and a Production Designer for several short films and music videos. Between productions, she still pursues a wide variety of creative endeavours, from drawing and painting to freelance styling work.
Kelly is always open to exploring new ideas and creative outlets, but for everything she pursues she uses her full heart. As a child, she was what you would refer to as an “over-achiever”, and she can definitely say there’s still some of that in her today.