Kelly Grace dedicates most of her waking hours to art making. Her work is the end result of a culmination of efforts to bring her childhood nostalgia to life. She revisits memories of her past and explores different ways to recreate them in her paintings. Kelly tries to express her love of retro inspired themes and subject matter in a modern voice. As the granddaughter of puppeteers and a clown she hopes to channel this familial creative influence.
Kelly Grace was born in Toronto in the 70's and raised in the rural area of Stouffville, Ontario. Her paternal grandparents were traveling puppeteers in the local fair and carnival circuit in California in the 1950's. This grandfather was also a clown and a painter.
Her father was raised in this environment until he was 11 years old. Her mother was also an artist and set designer before continuing her chosen profession of physiotherapy. It was through this creative influence and upbringing that Kelly and her 4 siblings were encouraged to pursue their arts education. She attended a high school of the arts in Unionville, Ontario where she had to undergo an intense auditioning process at the age of 13 in 8th grade. Kelly received an early start to her art training at this school. This program even started students in grade 11 drawing from the live nude model. Kelly continued her arts training at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario where she studied Interpretive Illustration for 3 years. Although she never pursued an Illustration career, it was at this school that she developed her style of painting with acrylics. This breakthrough came in her final year there with a project that was "phobia" themed. Each student had to do an illustration of not necessarily their own phobia but a known phobia. Given her family history with carnivals she chose "fear of clowns". Despite the fact that she isn’t actually afraid of clowns, the painting that she did was the beginning of the style that she paints in today.
She has been exhibiting professionally in art fairs and galleries since 2004. It wasn't until she married fellow Toronto artist Shaun Downey in 2006 that she made the decision to go for it full time.
Kelly Grace lives and works in Toronto, Canada. She shares a studio with 3 other talented artists: