I like junk.
I grew up in New Jersey surrounded by antiques, machinery, and stockpiles of seemingly meaningless objects kept as a result of my parents’ collective sentimentality. I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art from Monmouth University’s Honors Program and achieved the Creativity in Studio Art Award. My work took on a strong feminist presence during this time and I've shown pieces of that body of work in galleries along the New Jersey Shore and in New York City.
Currently, I gain momentum from my continuous exposure to graffiti, deteriorating buildings, man versus nature, and how well I play with others. Often, this manifests into rescuing trash from the street and examining its potential for new life. I also sometimes steal my neighbors' newspapers and compulsively saves cardboard. I spend many hours staring at my collection of modern human artifacts waiting for their connections to emerge. Much of my assemblage work takes on mandala or shrine-like characteristics while illustrating the world spinning in my mind. Concerns about femininity and the commodification of the body are regular working themes of mine, and I will occasionally rely on photography or painting for their final execution.
I currently reside in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana because it overflows with inspiration and great music. Plus, it has the best garbage.
Kel Mur is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Treme-Lafitte neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Courageous, tenacious, passionate.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
Most definitely the materials I find while biking or walking around town. It really is amazing what you can find if you just keep your eyes open. Each object I use has its own spirit and history that directly connects New Orleans to my work.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I always have to clean my house before I start to create work, I just can't think otherwise. I suppose it's because I'm kind of drowning in my found object collection. Once in a while if I'm having a hard time getting started, I will have to put on some really shameful music to sing to. I don't sing in public, not even at karaoke, but for some reason it will help me through that scary starting block.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Mostly my own life and the experiences of people that I know. I make a lot of feminist work, but I try hard to keep it rooted in some kind of universal truth rather than anger.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Libby Rowe for her feminist work, Marina Abramovic because she is a conceptual performance genius, Elizabeth Gilbert for her hopeful disposition, Ariel Levy for changing my life, David Choe for his raw creative energy, and I'd be lying if I didn't mention Tim Burton his stark aesthetic will be forever burned into my brain.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Oh, Jeez...this is tough but I'd have to say it's probably closest related to Kimya Dawson.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Right now, I am the Dining Area Manager at a magical place called Bacchanal Wine. I string the Christmas lights, do some light landscaping, and provide direction to the lost souls of the courtyard out back. Much of my time is there if I'm not home doing my best to make things.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I love midday so much it hurts, can't get enough of the days I'm home making art, and just adore October through December.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I was a pirate in a past life and used to be a tattoo artist in this one.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.