About Kelsey Merkle Fine Art

ABOUT KELSEY

Every toddler is given crayons and a blank piece of paper at some point.  Coming from an artistic family color, designing, and creating were part of the everyday experience thanks to my Grandmother.  As a talented artist herself she won a full scholarship to F.I.T. that her father would not allow her to accept, and sent her to Bryant and Stratton to be a secretary. She tells me that in the 50’s women were encouraged to either be nurses or secretaries but not artists.  My Grandmother exposed me early on to more medias than the average kid my age. While, everyone else would tell me I was so talented, she would tell me what I needed to work on. I could always trust her for an honest assessment. She paid for my art lessons every summer since Elementary School.  She let me know early that talent was a small part of what an artist needs to be successful, hard work with a little risk was key.

 

That point was driven home when I chose to do a painting that my Grandmother had decided was too demanding for her to take on herself.  She helped me to enter the piece in the Erie County Fair and I won the Best of Show and the Directors Award, which had never been awarded to a junior in the 162-year history of the Fair.  Since that moment, I often look to challenge myself in new ways and jump to do what others try to avoid.  Risking negative criticism by trying new things and having both successes and failures has resulted in overall positive experiences for me.

 

Like my grandmother, my preferred media would have to be oils due to the wide range of applications it can be used. I will always make a piece using whatever materials I find most appropriate at the time, being well versed in many different types of media such as: pastels, colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, charcoal, and graphite to name a few. I tend to learn towards realism because I enjoy doing all of the fine little details most people often miss, although currently I am trying to experiment with different approaches and styles.

 

I have discovered that the human figure, portraits in particular, are my muse, and it dominates my current body of work. I have always found portraits fascinating; you can learn so many things from the face of a person, if the road they have traveled is relentless and rough, or was it paved with velvet? Can you tell if this person is a seemingly joyful and careless chap by the laugh lines by the corner of their eye? Or in the deepest depths of their eyes does it tell a darker tale? We create identities for people that we pass by on the street or see in a picture frame. Is this for the reason that we want to feel less lonely, or maybe because we want to feel some sort of superiority over them? Whatever the case, every person’s face has a story behind it, and I want to share some of these stories.

CV

AWARDS

2022

St. Charles Fine Art Show

Chicago, IL

  • Invitational Award

Art on the Square 

Madison, WI

  • Invitational Award

2021

4 Bridges Festival of the Arts

Chattanooga, TN

  • Poster and Logo Winner

Lewiston Art Festival

Lewiston, NY

  • First Place Painting

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

Chicago, IL

  • Lakeview East Poster and Event Logo

2019

Allentown Art Festival

Buffalo, NY

  • First Place Allentown Poster Logo

2018

Allentown Art Festival 

Buffalo, NY

  • First Place: Allentown Poster Logo

East Aurora Outdoor Fine Arts Exhibit

East Aurora, NY

  • Best of Show

Letchworth Arts & Craft Show

Letchworth State Park, Perry, NY

  • First Place: Theme (Painting)

2017

St. Stephens Art Show

Coconut Grove, FL

  • Third Place: Mixed Media

Allentown Art Festival

Buffalo, NY

  • Third Place: Painting - Realism

Letchworth Arts & Craft Show

Letchworth State Park, Perry, NY

  • First Place: Theme (Painting)

2016

Park Ave Summer Art Festival

Rochester, NY

  • First Place: Painting

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • Best of Show

2015

Fairport Canal Days

Fairport, NY

  • Best of Show

Allentown Art Festival

Buffalo, NY

  • Third Place: Painting

Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival

Lockport, NY

  • Best in Show

Lewiston Art Festival

Lewiston, NY

  • Third Place: Mixed Media

  • Honorable Mention: Graphic Arts & Drawing

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • Best of Show

2014

Allentown Art Festival

Buffalo, NY

  • First Place: Painting - Realism

  • Honorable Mention: Watercolor

Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival

Lockport, NY

  • First Place: Painting

Art on the Riverwalk

N. Tonawanda, NY

  • Best of Show

Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit

Kenan Center, Lockport, NY

  • Sheila Whalen Memorial Realism in Drawing

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • First Place: Painting

2013

Allentown Art Festival

Buffalo, NY

  • Second Place: Drawing

Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival

Lockport, NY

  • Best of Show

Canal Festival of the Tonawandas

Tonawanda, NY

  • Best of Show

Lewiston Art Festival

Lewiston, NY

  • Honorable Mention: Mixed Media

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • First Place: Painting

2012

WNY Young Artists Exhibition

Impact Artist's Gallery, Buffalo, NY

  • First Place Award

  • Honorable Mention

Visual & Creative Arts 2012 Grad Show

Sheridan College, Oakville Ontario, CA

  • Award of Excellence in Recognition of the Highest Achievement for Figurative 2D Work

Canal Festival of the Tonawandas

Tonawanda, NY

  • First Place: Drawing

Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit

Kenan Center, Lockport, NY

  • Sheila Whalen Memorial Realism in Drawing Award

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • Best of Show

2011

Creative Arts Show - Erie County Fair

Erie County, Hamburg, NY

  • Directors Award

  • Best of Show

  • Second Place in Plein Air Painting

Quaker Arts Festival

Orchard Park, NY

  • First Place: Painting

2010

Young Women's Exhibition

Impact Gallery, Buffalo NY

  • First Place

  • Second Place

Clarence High School Advanced Placement Art Show

Clarence, NY

  • Clarence Arts Society Scholarship

Allentown Art Festivals Award Ceremony

Allentown, NY

  • Allentown Village Society Art Scholarship

Art on the Riverwalk

N. Tonawanda, NY

  • Honorable Mention

Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit

Kenan Center, Lockport, NY

  • Sheila Whalen Memorial Realism in Drawing Award

EDUCATION

2016 

Bachelor of Illustration, Sheridan College

2012

Visual and Creative Arts College Diploma, Sheridan College

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

DEC 2016

First Fridays, MJ Peterson Real Estate, Buffalo NY

APR 2016

The Neighborhood, Sheridan Illustration Grad Show, Toronto ON

SEP 2014

Buffalo Society of Artists 118th Catalogue Exhibition, Hi-Temp Fabrication Gallery: Buffalo NY

JULY 2014

Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit, Keenan Center: Lockport NY

OCT 2012

20th Annual WNY Artists Regional Exhibition, Art Dialogue Gallery: Buffalo NY

FEB 2012

WNY Young Artist’s Exhibition, Impact Artists Gallery: Buffalo NY

APR 2012

Visual & Creative Arts 2012 Grad Show, Marquee: Oakville ON

MAY 2010

Young Curators Show, Albright Knox, Buffalo NY

APR 2010

Young Woman’s Exhibition, Impact Artists Gallery: Buffalo NY

PUBLICATION

NOV/DEC 2014

Vol 29 | #5      Applied Arts Magazine – Student Awards