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October 25 by Chern Mathews

Steve Kelly, is quite the piece of work. Difficult to assert on the spectrum just as himself, classifying his work as an artist (a painter and musician), would become quite expansive in this day and age. But “satirical punk-rock pop art” is perhaps the most simple way for me to put it, albeit unjustly. Attempting to narrow it down any further will only broaden the spectrum as you delve into the artist Steve Kelly’s paintings alone.

Being an artist of any form is nerve-racking because you’re really throwing yourself out there to be accepted or shunned by the world. There are very few people who can look at art indifferently, and that’s purely a matter of human nature. When we look at something, artistic or not, we typically feel one way or another about it. And that’s what makes the interpretation of art so important and educational, because we can discuss what we see or how we feel about it, and sometimes that discussion leads us to developing new interpretations or meaning, ultimately broadening our horizons and knowledge.

While there is versatility within Steve Kelly’s artwork, there also remains common and simple threads throughout it. His personality and outlook on the world seemingly shine through despite the blatant darkness displayed in the majority of his work. You can think of it in literal terms and take it at face value, or you can think about it for a few days afterwards and gain some perspective on the piece(s). And that is where I truly place merit on artwork. Whether or not I think about it for a while afterwards, because that means it made me feel something. It doesn’t matter what the feeling is, it just matters that my emotions were moved in some type of way.

Steve Kelly’s artwork does that with its provocative style and nature. The pieces appear to draw on inspiration from classic artists of the more modern era such as Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, but there is clear evidence of Kelly’s own spin and originality within them which creates a much more punk-rock essence. An essence that combines pop culture with the morbid, the mundane, the expected and the unexpected. It’s only a matter of time before the right person with the right tastes comes along and truly appreciates this kid’s work for what it is; beautifully dark, bad-ass, and original.

When I asked the one they call Snake what he’s trying to accomplish with his art, he gave me the simple response of “man, I just want to keep working and making art. We’ll go from there…”

To come up with your own interpretations of the up and coming Steve Kelly’s work, join us on October 30th, 2016 at Basemeant Wrx in Montclair, NJ, for Death and Prozac. An arts show that’ll certainly provide some good times, some music, some comedy and as always, a ton of artwork! It’s a Halloween-based event on a Sunday, so wear a costume, BYOB if you must, and let’s get weird! Also, bring $5 for the cover at the door, you think this art stuff is cheap?