Studio Visit: Kelly Hieronymus

Studio Visit: Kelly Hieronymus

Kelly Hieronymous, 33, of Champaign is a design consultant and artist and a graduate of Centennial High School and  the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago.

When did you move back to Champaign?

I moved back four years ago. Previously, I worked in Clayton, Mo., for a company called Archives. I taught crafting workshops and classes. I followed the company from Kentucky to the St. Louis area, so I was with them quite a while.

What kind of art and design do you do now?

I do acrylic on poplar paintings and carvings, and then I use an acrylic wash on Bristol board with India ink. So two mediums: There are carved ones, and there are my paintings.

Are they all your interpretations of the Midwest landscape from the air?

Yes, I did watercolor aerials in 2007. They were much more abstract and didn't really represent the fields. They were my imagination, completely. And then I started the woodcarvings and have done those pretty much on and off for four years.

What made you start doing the aerial pieces?

Anytime I'm in a plane, I take the window seat. I'm just fascinated with the irrigation systems and the fields' proximity to cities. If you're flying from Chicago to California, the agriculture from the western half of the United States to Illinois is vastly different. That's where my initial fascination with aerials began.

Do take photographs from airplanes for your work?

Sometimes. My process is this: I try to keep my cellphone on my lap, but when I see something I like, I drop a pin on Google maps so when I get home, I can research where I was and look at the field via satellite. I go up in the air a lot with my boyfriend, Mark Whiting, who's a pilot. He owns Champaign Aviation.

Did you study art?

I studied interior design at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago. All of the professors were professionals in their fields, so you knew what you were getting into. I started working with Archives around 2010.

How and when did you first get into art?

I've always been interested. Sheila Ott was my fourth-grade art teacher at Robeson Elementary, and she's tall and beautiful. She was the first person I ever painted a painting for. That's when Prairie Gardens still carried art supples, so my dad and I went there and I bought a canvas and painted her a picture. It was very juvenile, a painting looking out at Maynard Lake, which has an island.

Mrs. Ott was just one of those teachers who was encouraging and enthusiastic about kids. She has this Southern drawl, and she was like pure magic to us.

Do you show your work around here?

Yes, this year, I've shown at the Flatlander Classroom at the Common Ground Food Co-op and then I had a piece in both of the 40 North shows at 40 Point One. At Gallery 217, I did a show with Hugh Bridgeford, and then Kaya Tate and I did The Made Fest together. And on Dec. 2, I'll do a pop-up show as part of Imbibe Urbana First Friday event. I might also do the Market in the Square this winter in Lincoln Square.

Do you make any other things besides paintings?

I fuss with it all. I love to sew. I'm not good at it, but I just love to collect fabric. I do screen printing. I don't do a lot of it — I just pull a few prints a year. It's a great way to donate work to non-profits.

My whole life is pretty much engulfed in residential design and construction and art. I remodel houses. I work primarily with Sunbuilt Homes. I help people pick out their flooring and wall colors and textures. I also do that on a freelance basis.


Topics (1):Art