VISUAL VOICES : KELLIANNE O'BRIEN

WHEN COLOR AND CREATIVITY COLLIDE: THE UNSTOPPABLE ART OF KELLIANNE O'BRIEN

Kellianne OBriens paintings and sculpture are born of a spirituality which comes from overcoming a very difficult past. In 1994 Ms. OBrien began to recover from what can only be described as catastrophic psychiatric difficulties. While enduring many dark nights of the soul, Ms. OBrien created works of art that both encouraged and reflected the spiritual awakening through which she began to heal her illness.  We sit down to learn more about her journey of creativity.

What are the core and fundamental themes and concepts of your art?

My artistic practice is an onto-phenomenological study of Creation. My Light paintings are visual reflections of my personal artistic experiences transcending the human limits of being and consciousness. My paintings express harmony and unity by bringing together vivid, bold colors that compliment each other. Different from other artists, I combine color, shape, dimension, and movement onto the canvas rather than sketching an idea-image beforehand. My creative process is immediate, energetic and ecstatic. My Light paintings demonstrate that color itself has an interior, or soul, that can be accessed by human beings. My work retains spiritual light energy, or Soul, that cannot be fully captured when viewing. This radiant energy is the result of the process of creation itself and is the reason that I refer to my work as Light painting.

How closely do these ideas relate to your creative process and the actual act of creating the art itself? 

My creative process informs my philosophical ideas rather than the other way around. For me, artistic creation brings into alignment the elements fire, earth and water – in space – with the Divine Source of Being. The process of coming-into- alignment is the intersecting place where the horizontal, the elemental human, meets the vertical, the spatial dimension – the Divine. This alignment is achieved through the process of synchronicity. It opens into the realm of the purely spiritual. Music, movement and color come together to help me enter the space of the spiritual. In this state of Grace, I prepare to receive the Divine. Grace transports me into an interior realm that transcends all of my experiences as a human being. It is much like holding the hand of God. When I achieve openness in this way, radiant light energy flows forth onto the canvas by moving color. Movement is an essential part of my artistic practice because only when I am in motion can I see the work coming into being as a whole. I achieve Divine perspective – seeing the whole rather than individual parts. And I feel complete and at home, in ecstasy.

Which artists, designers and creators (past or present)  are you inspired and influenced by?

I am inspired by Kandinskys “Compositions” and his essays and book on the Spiritual in Art. I believe that Kandinskys work successfully renders the “Geometry of Music” by transporting the viewer into the interior dimension of music itself. I am also inspired by Van Gogh's lively depictions of color-in- motion as portrayed in glowing street lights, swirling stars, even his flowers and crows show this movement. Van Gogh's haystacks have always fascinated me – how he uses color to reflect light at different times of day. Monet does this, too, with color and light. I am deeply inspired by the artists of the Great Pyramids, as their creations remain a profound mystery to all, similar to how my creative process is to me.

Which of your work/works stands out as a highlight, a favorite, or a significant point in your creative growth and development? and why?

My painting entitled, “Sacred” reflects the process of Creation that I described above. “Sacred” is personally profound for several reasons. First, at the time of its creation, I had only an old bulletin board and muted green and brown paint to use. More important, however, “Sacred” shows, or demonstrates, how I merge with the Source of Being, in a visual depiction. A more recent painting entitled, “Celeste Prophecy” is the first work where I reached the spatial dimension of color, the interior of color, which I call Space. It is the first work where I can actually see another realm or dimension at work in my work.

An artist of powerful creative voice and message, what do you wish to communicate to your audience? 


My wish for human beings is that we strive to place our trust in something greater than ourselves, and that we practice humility toward one another through compassion. I think that people would benefit greatly by learning how to connect with the Being that is full of light and love, the Being that has the ability to heal all wounds, the Being that is ever-present and eternal – Pure Benevolence. This kind of Faith has the ability to transform all hurt, pain and suffering that exists in this world.

Creatively, professionally and in all aspects of being an artist, what are your goals for your upcoming works and art?

I recently completed a series of 20 paintings that I call “Paradise Paintings.” Together, they represent an unforeseen completion, an accomplishment that gives me great joy. They are tributes to the beautiful colors of earth and water. I tend not to plan ahead of painting. I practice staying in each moment as it unfolds. In this way, my faith is what sustains me between works. I want to always nurture and sustain the openness and spontaneity required to achieve the experience of receiving Grace. I plan to travel to Italy this year for an important art discussion and exhibition. I would also love to have a solo exhibition.

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