100 Creatives 2012: Jeremy P. Kelley, Kid's Pop Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives

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Artist Jeremy P. Kelley admits he made a tiny mistake in choosing his company's name, Liam's Room Art. He named the endeavor after his son Liam, since his was the first room Kelly ever decorated with his work. At the time Liam was Kelley's only child. The trouble is Kelley recently had a daughter, Brennan. So does that mean Liam's Room Art is destined to become Liam and Brennan's Rooms? Or maybe Kelley Kids' Art? Kelly isn't sure, but he knows he'll have to do something to include his daughter's name if he wants to stay on her good side. "She's gonna get ticked off at me, I think, if I don't do something about that," he tells us. Since she's only five months old, he figures he has a little time to think it out.

Kelley entered in the Marine Corps right after high school; a recruiting officer guaranteed he would be stationed in California which appealed to Kelley, who was an avid surfer. He spent two years as a machine gunner before moving over to work with hazardous materials. ("My education officer didn't think there was much of a future for me as a machine gunner outside the military," Kelley deadpans.) After leaving the Marines, Kelley stayed in California for a couple of years. Then he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone) and returned to Houston for treatment at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. After a year of treatment, surgery and a full knee replacement, Kelley emerged cancer free.

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Kelley had been creating art for several years, including painting abstract surfing images, when he set about to decorate his son Liam's room. "I couldn't find any good art for kids," he tells us. "It was just the same old pictures over and over. I found there was just a really big gap in art for kids. So, I decided to give it a shot. My son's room had a space theme and I did some space stuff." Friends and acquaintances quickly began requesting pieces for their children and Kelley found himself with a growing business on his hands.

Over the last year, Kelley has been planning to open a virtual shop online. "I had some reservations. I like talking with my customers and I didn't want it to suddenly feel like it was just a business, and I was just filling orders. So I make it a point, that every time somebody buys a piece of art, I call them and talk to them, thank them."

What he does: "If someone asks me what I do, I tell them I'm a children's artist. I do own an environmental firm, but I have people that run it for me. My main goal is to eventually sell that business and just do art."

What he likes about it: "I enjoy delivering the art the most," he laughs. "I've done collections that weren't my style. I'm not a cowboy, but I've had clients that wanted a western theme with lots of cowboy boots. That's not my taste, but I did it. Then when I delivered it, the kids flipped out over them. That was fun.

"I also love doing donations. I try to do at least a couple a year. I'm doing Saint Rose of Lima and M. D. Anderson's Children's Cancer Center. That's always great, seeing how much the kids love it."

What inspires him: "I wake up at two in the morning and have to write down an idea that I just had. I get inspired so many different way. My last collection was an animal train. My son is obsessed with trains. And I like animals, so I put the two together. It turned out to be very popular."

If not this, then what: "I wish I could play a guitar and sit out there and sing, but I can't, I'm just not musically talented. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to open up a [restaurant/bar], something that would coffee and sandwiches during the day and then serve wine and good craft beer during the night. My friends and I toss that idea around from time to time, so maybe a little further down the line that will happen."

If not here, then where: "Austin," comes the answer without hesitation. "Houston is growing on me more and more every day, especially the area that we're in, the Gardens Oaks/Oak Forest area, but I think I would like to give Austin a try."

What's next: Kelley has been working on his www.liamsroomart.com website for a year. It still isn't complete, but it's up and running. He's currently looking to open a studio/store front, most likely in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area where he can present his work to customers in person. "The website alone doesn't do the work justice, I don't think. People need to see the art in a frame and on the wall to get a real feel for what it is. When people see my work up close, in person, it sells 100 percent faster."

Other than that, Kelley says he doesn't have time for anything else. "Between trying to be a good dad and husband, running my environmental company and being an artist, doing the website and looking for studio space, that's all I can do. I'm not looking for any more projects!"

More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Bear Wilder, Filmmaker, Jewelry Artist, DJ, VJ
Antoine Plante, conductor
Chuy Benitez, photographer and arts organizer
Robin Kachantones, illustrator
Libbie J. Masterson, artist, curator and creator
Leighza Walker, theater owner, actress, writer, theatrical everywoman
Macy Perrone, costume designer
Elsa Briggs, Painter, jewelry maker
Baldemar Rodriguez, film director/producer and actor
Linarejos Moreno, photographer

Heather Rainwater, artist, jewelry maker
Detria Ward, actress and entrepreneur
Justin Cronin, book author
Mark Ivy, actor
Lauren Luna, painter and shoe designer

Sarah Cortez, writer

Kent Dorn, drawer, painter, artist
Lillian Warren, painter
Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor
Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer
Tom Stell, actor, writer, director
Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder

Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer
Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher

Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director
Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician

Matthew Detrick, classical musician
Travis Ammons, filmmaker
Florence Garvey, actress
Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker

Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder

Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director

Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist

Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor

Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer

Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor

Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer

Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts

Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer

Wade Wilson, gallery owner

Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright

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