Everything about Kelly Zellers is small. Her body, her daughter, her works of art. But while her artwork is physically small, it is incredibly vibrant and impactful, just as she is. She is a floral designer and an artist who has turned her canvases into usable art, such as bags sold at Nanz & Kraft. We are delighted to welcome her as our FACE of Louisville today.
You are an artist and you also work at Nanz & Kraft Florists. What do you do at each job?
I’m a designer at Nanz & Kraft, which is obviously a lot more structured than when I work from home, but both are creative, tactile jobs. As a floral designer I’m always kind of thinking as a painter in terms of composition, color, texture, interesting lines or unexpected combinations. I never really shut off that artist part of my brain. I’m always getting ideas or looking for inspiration. It’s just a matter of making those ideas come to life once I get home.
When did you discover that you had a talent for painting?
My grandmother is an artist and that made a huge impression on me as a kid, and I think that’s where the curiosity and interest came from. I remember one time asking her to draw a dog and I thought it was the best dog I’d ever seen, and I needed to be able to do that. In high school I won an art competition (the details of which escape me) but there was a cash prize, and I thought to myself, “Hey! This gig pays!”
Not only do you create works of art on canvas, you also have “usable” art, like the pouches. Tell us a little more about your different mediums.
A friend once said to me that nothing is safe from paint in my presence. That is so true. I love taking everyday items or found objects and turning them into something special. Art should be fun and accessible.
What is inspiring you right now?
Andy Spade on Instagram is amazing at capturing these little moments that have so much personality. It’s a perfect example of how inspiration can come from anywhere if you just look. The documentary Beauty is Embarrassing is also a great reminder to listen to that little voice inside telling us that it’s okay to do something different.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Don’t be a second-rate version of someone else. Be a first-rate version of yourself.
Who is your mentor?
My parents are the most generous and encouraging people I know. My husband, too. They have big hearts. They’re the kind of people you want to surround yourself with in hopes that it will rub off.
What is best advice you have received in business?
To network and to be nice.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I would love to be a muppeteer.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
People who didn’t grow up with me are always shocked to discover that I was a cheerleader from middle school through high school. That just doesn’t fit with my personality at all.
What is your favorite place to go eat?
Where do you like to shop?
The Urban Attic, J. Crew, Anthropologie and Target.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
Marathoning a show on Netflix. Bonus if it’s a BBC series.
What is your weakness?
I’m very sensitive. Oh yeah, big time crier.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
My family and I love to walk around the Highlands to look at the houses. We also love to see Dracula and A Christmas Carol at Actor’s Theatre to get ready for the holidays.
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
- My flat-as-a-pancake pillow for sleeping on my stomach
- A week on the beach every summer
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, and it was hilarious. It’s also no secret that I love romance novels, so I’ve always got at least one Nora Roberts book in my bag.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now:
As always, much gratitude to my FACES photographer Adele Reding and her fantastic work. See her profile here: www.facebook.com