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April 2016

I returned from a two month trip in Ecuador in early March and started working on pieces for our 2016 SSbD exhibition (taking place at Sea Star Winery on Pender Island from May 20 – 23). One of the main images I’m using for a small series is from that trip. Then, last Sunday, we awoke to the news of the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. I decided to produce a series of prints of images from our trip to sell as a fundraiser for the Red Cross relief in Ecuador. All profits will be going to the Red Cross.

The 10 x 14 inch images, printed on Ilford 13 x 19 in. gloss paper, are mounted on 16 x 20 acid-free backing board, ready for matting and framing. Prints are $100 with $90 going to the Red Cross (if ordering from off-island shipping is extra; please be sure to ask what the rate will be to your location). Please contact me via email: for ordering or if you’ve any questions. Prints and cards will also be available at our exhibition at Sea Star on the Victoria Day long weekend.














June 2015:

I recently completed and delivered a piece commissioned from our last SSbD exhibition, Stage II:

Stage II a 3D artwork by Kelly Irving

Stage II

This piece is in a shadow box measuring 10 x 14 x 3inches. I’ve made several  versions of this piece, starting back with my original 3D works made in Ho Chi Minh City. The last two versions have included bits of nautical charts in the background.  The figures are printed on an inkjet transparency.

Other shadow box pieces sold during our last exhibition include:

Shopping, a layered 3D artwork which includes photo prints on paper and transparency plus a piece of fake woodgrain on cardboard with cutouts.

Shopping a 3D artwork by Kelly Irving


Art Hotel, another layered piece with photo prints on paper and transparency plus cutouts and bits of text.

Art Hotel, a 3D artwork by Kelly Irving

Art Hotel

Images for these pieces are all my own but come from many places including Prague, Ho Chi Minh City, Venice and a theatre production I directed.

This year I also returned to drawing and painting in a big way. I sold one painting at our exhibition but am very happy with my work and plan on continuing with my experiments in mixed media.

The first four I did were painted over liquor store ads.

Al #1, mixed media

Al #1 (sex)

Al #2, mixed media

Al #2 (drugs)

Al #3, mixed media artwork

Al #3 (rock ‘n’ roll)

Al #4 mixed media artwork

Al #4 (spirit)

Some of the text and bits of the original advertising images were left showing through but were so reworked as to be unrecognizable from their original form. Originally I saw these as sketches but I continued working on them for several months until I considered them finished pieces standing on their own.

From these I continued with more mixed media pieces incorporating photos I had taken of people photographing famous works of art.

Artist 1 (Francis Bacon), mixed media artwork

Artist 1 (Francis Bacon)

Artist 2 (Joannes Vermeer), mixed media artwork

Artist 2 (Joannes Vermeer)

Artist 3 (Roy Lichtenstein) mixed media artwork

Artist 3 (Roy Lichtenstein)

These three were all done on wood panels measuring 18 x 24 inches. Primarily I used pencil, charcoal, conté crayon and acrylic paint along with the glued down images.

February 2015:

I’m busy working in my lil studio, making new works for our upcoming Spring exhibition at Sea Star Vineyards. And updating web sites and blogs. And thinking thinking thinking. Most recently my thinking process received a boost by visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Cézanne and the Modern exhibition had just opened and I went early in the day and avoided the crowds. The thing I miss most about living in a city is visiting the galleries. I’ve seen several exhibitions of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art but enjoyed seeing many pieces I’d never seen before in the VAG show, including Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Sacred Grove, which I sat in front of for a while, inspecting its composition. I enjoy seeing not only the major works but the sketches and lesser works. It’s such an education to go face-to-face with the real thing, as opposed to reading  and viewing images of them.

Also at the VAG the Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art exhibition is amazing. Sun Xun’s room filling, multi-layered Shan Shui-Cosmos mesmerized me. And lastly I wandered through The Poetics of Space, a collection of contemporary and historical art works investigating the variety of ways artists have explored physical space. I left the VAG with a head full of ideas and notes on artists and their works to follow up on.


August, 2013:

For our third annual Same, Same… but Different exhibition I showed a few of the re-worked pieces, shown below (e.g. Magic Lake and Coming Soon) plus two other sculptures I finally thought finished (Portable Camera and Landscaping Altar), one new sculpture (Saving Time) and a series of prints of photos I’d taken in Myanmar (some of these can be seen at: All the prints are archival quality and matted to fit 14x17in. frames.

photo prints by Kelly Irving

Two Photo Prints

sculpture by Kelly Irving, Pender Island, BC

Portable Camera – front

sculpture by Kelly Irving, Pender Island, BC

Portable Camera – back

The Portable Camera has gone through several revisions but now with its stand and new bottom ‘drawer’ (or ‘room’) I consider it complete.

sculpture by Kelly Irving

Landscaping Altar

sculpture by Kelly Irving

Landscaping Altar

I had made the Landscaping Altar for the 2012 Art Off the Fence exhibition but was not happy with its roof, so this year rebuilt it with changed roof and stand.

sculpture by Kelly Irving

Saving Time

This little sculpture may have provoked the interest of the Cooper’s Hawk who sat on the fence near the end of the exhibition.

March, 2013:

I spent the winter working on a few new projects and making adjustments to some previous pieces. For the restaged Same Same but Different exhibition at The Corre Alice Gallery in Cumberland I had reworked a few pieces but found I wasn’t totally happy with a couple. In July 2012 I was an invited artist at the Art Off the Fence exhibition on South Pender Island. I created all new pieces for the show but felt that there was room for improvement. My ReCovered Album Art is an ongoing series.

Previous Pieces Reworked

Magic Lake V3 © 2013 by Kelly Irving

Magic Lake V3

I’ve worked and reworked Magic Lake a few times now. This last version finally nails the look and feel I wanted. The image has 4 physical layers: the bamboo plant in the circular i Ching hexagram; the forest/sky; the middle ground including most of the lake and the foreground with most of the figures. Its divisions are hard to see in the above image but the layers are each 1/8in. You can see the edge of the foreground layer just to the right of the righthand figure (and if you look hard just to the left of Queen Victoria).

Image © 2013 by Kelly Irving

Coming Soon: Interior

The above “pop-up” can be seen further down the page in its original form, as I made it in Saigon. I see it as a model for a larger, human sized, interactive sculpture. For the Art Off the Fence show I decided to incorporate it into a book, both to reinforce its pop-up qualities and to add context. I added a photo and a transparent covering, similar to mailing label sleeves, to the exterior of the book.

Image © 2013 by Kelly Irving

Coming Soon: Exterior

New Works

One of my projects for Art Off the Fence was the revision of a series of three books I’d inherited from my mother. She’d won them as a school prize in the 1920s and I don’t think she’d ever read them, as some of the pages were still uncut. I cut into the books’ pages, as one would when making hidden compartments. I then made inserts: a small box of images and text; an accordion book and a toy soldier in memoriam. The images I used were scanned from family photo albums from the late 1800s, cropped and tinted. The toy soldier I’ve had for years, keeping it as a symbol of the faded British Empire, one of the themes of the piece.

book art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Slipcover for Boxset

book art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Book Cover Example

book art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Here There and Everywhere

book art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Contents of Book

book art © 2013 Kelly Irvng

The Days Before Yesterday Interior

book art © 2013 Kelly Irving

The Vanished Pomps of Yesterday

I also continued working on pieces that incorporated layered transparencies.

layered transparencies © 2013

Fotoed Floaters

This piece features several of my favourite themes: photographers, statues and floating. My main interest, however, is exploring the use of transparencies and layers to create shallow relief, 3 dimensional works that reference recent accelerated technological and social changes.

Using a similar technique, but on a different theme, I made Bees on a River for the Words and Vision exhibition at the Pender Island Community Hall. Although similar to Fotoed Floaters it has a translucent back and so lets light in the back. The words read: Bees on the river, Wings rippling the morning mist, Sing early words

Bees on the River, a multi layered transparency photo based art work © 2013 Kelly Irving

Bees on the River

I have another series in progress which I call Album ReCovers. This started with two recovered albums I made for our first Same Same but Different show: Star Trek and Star Wars. They were the first two pieces I sold from the show, an encouraging sign. I’ve continued working with soundtrack albums for several reasons: 1.) they’re easy to find in thrift stores   2.) they provide a thematic link  3.) they refer to another medium, film.

I  include some of the original cover for reference. Here I’ve cut through to both the original cover and the inner cover of the gatefold album cover.

recovered album art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Hello Dolly!

For My Fair Lady I cut both a circle and shape of the original letters to the expose the original cover beneath.

recovered album art © 2013 Kelly Irving

My Fair Lady

Below is my recovering of Zorba the Greek showing the record on which I’ve glued (fake) Euros.

recovered Zorba the Greek © 2013 Kelly Irving

Zorba the Greek

I used a more abstract image for The Sound of Music and cut more holes, exposing more layers of the gatefold cover.

recovered album art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Sound of Music

Oh What a Lovely War took me somewhere else…

O What a Lovely War, a recovered album © 2013 Kelly Irving

Oh What a Lovely War

Having a broad selection of soundtrack albums in my studio provides me with choices, time to contemplate and a variety of icons with which to work.

album art © 2013 Kelly Irving

Fiddler on the Roof

More updates will be coming soon as I have several pieces near completion. I’d love to get some feedback so please leave comments!

In the Beginning

In 2010 I contacted Joanna about collaborating on an exhibition…

first works at Miss Loi's in Saigon

Working and Dreaming in Saigon

I had gone to Saigon in August, 2010 to work but due to some family matters my plans were up in the air. I decided to use my time pursuing a vision of 3-dimensional, photo-based work I’d been considering for a couple of years. I had a large, well-lit room at Miss Loi’s Guesthouse. The marble floors made a good surface to work on and the large balcony provided space for spray gluing. I had taken a portable printer with me and found shops that supplied all my other materials. I set to work and made a half dozen pieces, some maquettes for larger pieces.

first attempt at 3 dimensional photo-based art

Stage Maquette

Stage was the first piece I made. It’s a maquette for what I envision as a wall mounted piece about two feet wide. Inspiration came from several sources including stage set design and having seen a small puppet theatre (with little musicians that ‘played’ to a the jukebox) attached to a restaurant wall.

I also made a small pop-up maquette for a large pop-up with life-size figures, perhaps operated by a foot lever.

Shopping pop-up construction

Shopping Pop-Up

Another maquette was inspired by a photo I’d taken in Saigon of two blind street musicians. This piece I see as standing about seven feet high. The image of the musicians would be mounted on metal with steel cables holding it in place.

Blind Musicians maquette

Blind Musicians Maquette

Not all my creations were maquettes, however.

A Maze in Venice layered photographic image

A Maze in Venice

I experimented with layering images in different configurations. A Maze in Venice is a literal 3D maze. The image is a layered PhotoShop image, comprised of about a dozen different original images.

I also created a layered image that drew inspiration from Watteau’s Voyage to Cythera. First I  made a rough sketch of the elements then sought out appropriate images from my image collection.

layered image Cythera


One of my favourite pieces made in Saigon is Self Kelp. I took multiple photos of myself, layered and blended them into one image which was then cut and physically layered into ‘islands’.

Self, layered image by Kelly Irving


The Kelp half was layered with the ‘islands’ reversed.

Kelp, layered photo image by Kelly Irving


The two pieces are hung side-by-side to form Self Kelp (aka Less Self, More Kelp).

Some of the pieces I made in Saigon I later re-made at home. Some were simply made bigger (e.g. A Maze in Venice) but others were altered versions. Such as Magic Lake

Magic Lake, version one

Magic Lake v.1

Which later became…

Magic Lake, final version

Magic Lake v.2

Luxia Mod was the first piece I’d conceived as a physically layered image. The piece was designed to fit in a Spanish public phone box laid on its side. However, when it came time to make it I didn’t have any phone box, Spanish or otherwise. Before I’d even gone to Saigon I had done a layout of the piece in PhotoShop, but I never actually went to work on it until I returned home.

Kelly Irving's layered image Luxia Mod

Luxia Mod – Original Layout

The final piece had undergone several alterations, some made necessary by physical limitations, others were compositional decisions.

Luxia Mod, final version

Luxia Mod – Final Version

I was pleased with the final version. It now hangs on our living room wall. The piece has many ambiguities, including looking to see what is layered in PhotoShop and what is actually physically layered.

When I returned home from Saigon I set to work. First I had to redesign my work space which is located in a travel trailer next to our house.

Kelly Irving's studio workspace

Works in Progress!

With a date set for our collaborative exhibition I set to work creating pieces. I have an ‘idea’ book where I keep track of concepts and inspirations. I gradually created pieces over the winter. As the weather improved I started framing in my outdoor workspace. Many pieces were completed in time for the first Same, Same but… Different exhibition but a few are still in bits and pieces. One I decided was just too big for the exhibition space (or storage at home if it didn’t sell!). Another involved some complex carpentry and wasn’t completed in time.

I was pleased with the feedback we got from viewers of our first Same, Same but… Different show. Plus I sold enough works to cover my costs. A good first step! And the journey continues…

car loaded with artworks

Ready to Roll

Updates will be posted on our What’s New page!


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