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01 Aug Artist Spotlight: Kelly Aiken

Kelly Aiken is a 20-something artist living in the greater Charlotte area. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture Design. Kelly worked for The Paint Bar as an Assistant Creative Director and Studio Instructor, teaching art to customers in the Boston, MA area. Kelly moved to Charlotte and worked as an E- Interior Designer for Havenly, Inc. while teaching art classes at Wine and Canvas. Kelly’s daughter, Copeley May, was born in November 2016, and Kelly became a stay- at- home mother and artist.
Starting March 2018, Kelly began teaching abstract gold leaf art at SkillPop Charlotte.

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

I started my career in art about 5 years ago, back in 2013. I was able to leave my full time 9 to 5 desk job to become the Assistant Creative Director for The Paint Bar in Boston. I was a studio instructor, and I fell in love with spreading the creativity. I knew I wanted to be an artist when in college when I was able to take a painting class and have my first piece in a First Friday show. The piece captured a lot of attention, and the emotional connection my art was creating with people blew me away. In 2017, I launched Copeley Designs Art, named after my daughter Copeley.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words…

Balance, Energetic and Timeless

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

Once the canvas is stretched, gessoed and ready to work, I love to get lost in the music and escape into the canvas. My daughter is a true inspiration for my pieces- bright, energetic, and fresh. Caring for her all day between painting sessions is the perfect preparation before the process of my work! I do not have much physical preparation before an abstract piece, sometimes the less I think about my ending goal, the better.

Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?

My favorite piece is “Navy Shipyard”, painting back in 2014. I found my favorite palette knife through this process, and it was also the first large-scale piece I created. I learned a lot about my style when creating “Navy Shipyard”, still implementing a lot of palette knife technique in my new work!

Again, my daughter is an amazing inspiration for the movement and color I use in my art. You never know what kind of emotional roller coaster each day will bring with raising a toddler, but I am able to transcribe that emotion onto the canvas, capturing our time together in an abstract form.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

My biggest accomplishment is giving birth and being a parent. As for an artist accomplishment, I think I am just getting started! Recently I was signed by Curated American Artists, a company who signs with independent artists to help get their pieces in retail stores!

Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?

My favorite location to create is at the beach. My future dream studio will hopefully have a gorgeous ocean view. For now, my studio space is a room in my home- with very colorful floors! It’s the perfect space for me escape to during my daughter’s nap time. I love LOTS of plants in my studio, although my green thumb is awful!


A random fact about you?

I was a gymnast for 15 years! My husband is also a retired NFL player!

One thing you couldn’t live without?

I couldn’t live without chocolate. My sweet tooth is unreal!

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

My favorite emerging artist is Allie Dattilio, she has a beautiful collection of landscapes with gold leafing. I can’t wait to purchase an original from her. But of course, I am a huge Monet fan as well!

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years?

Within the next five years, I am hoping to become a travelling studio instructor artist for my gold leafing classes! I love teaching the technique of adding metal leaf to art pieces in the Charlotte NC area and want to spread the creativity to the states of VA and SC!

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