J. Evan Kelley is an Illustrator and Portraitist living in rural Alabama. He Received a BFA from Auburn University Montgomery in Studio Painting. He taught visual art to grades 6-12 for three years after graduating college. He served as the Executive Assistant for the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE), a partnership organization of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education, from 2007-2012, focusing mainly on marketing efforts via e-newsletters and webpage maintenance. Kelley's experience at the AAAE helped him to see the importance of the arts in schools and allowed him to nuture his natural desire to share his creative knowledge with new audiences. In 2007 an opportunity arose for Kelley to teach annual paint classes at Camp Smile-A-Mile, a retreat for children and teens fighting cancer, as well as for their families. Some of Jared's past clients have been Alabama Governor Don Seigleman, Fredrick G. Levin, Upper Deck Trading Cards, Baptist Medical Centers (Montgomery, AL), University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Anzalone Liszt Research, and Talk Radio Host Greg Budell.
Though he participated in art classes throughout his early life, even during college, Kelley was never priveledged to have instructors proficient in portraiture, with the exception of his jr. high art teacher who introuduced the thrill of portaiture to Kelley. Since then, Kelley has been largely self-taught in the field of portraiture. He credits most of his current artistic habits and techniques to a stint as an apprentice to muralist Matthew John Smith from Prattville, Alabama. During his apprenticeship, Kelley was able to aid in the rendering of more than 3000 square feet of murals and faux finishes, all of which inspired by the decadence of the Italian Renaissance. Kelley spent three more years apprenticing as a muralist and has been grateful for the experience ever since.
In addition to fulfilling private portrait commissions, Kelley is currently the Lead Portrait Painter for Sport Kings, LLC, a major trading card company since 1933 headquartered in Ontario, Canada. Kelley's miniature sports art has been featured in art and hobby publications of recent past, including Beckett Magazine which listed Kelley among the nine most influential artists in the country who are changing the world of card collecting. In 2011, a single John F. Kennedy trading card portrait, hand-painted by Kelley, auctioned for $2000, which to date is the most that any sketch card has ever sold for in the US. Kelley is very appreciative of the collectors who support his work and he frequents sports forums to chew the fat with sketch card afficionados.
Kelley's work primarily consists of portraiture in acrylic paints on hard surfaces such as wood or metals. However, oils on canvas can also be found amid his portfolio of works. Largely representational, Kelley's work does include graphical details at times, showing influences from modern painters such as Steve Penley, Rodney White, and Stephen Holland. His studio is always busy and he welcomes new clients anytime. Please enjoy the site!