Bio: Kelley was born in Wayne, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, to a Roman Catholic family in October 1954. His father was in charge of maintenance for a school; his mother was a cook in the executive dining room at Ford Motor Company. In his early years he was involved with the city's music scene, which spawned bands such as Iggy and the Stooges, and was a member of the noise band Destroy All Monsters. In 1976, Kelley graduated from the University of Michigan and then moved to Los Angeles. In 1978 he graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a Master of Fine Arts, where he admired the work of his teachers John Baldessari, Laurie Anderson, David Askevold and Douglas Huebler.
Motivations: The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts was established by the artist in 2008 prior to his death and seeks to further Kelley’s philanthropic work through grants for innovative projects that reflect his multifaceted artistic practice. The Foundation also fosters the artist’s legacy more broadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements.
Techniques: During his time at CalArts, Kelley started to work on a series of works with loose poetic themes, such as The Sublime, Monkey Island and Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile, using a variety of different media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, video, and writing. In the 1980s he became known for working with another type of material: crocheted blankets, fabric dolls and other rag toys found at thrift stores and yard sales.
Describe- This artwork is accomplished through stuffed animals.
Analyze- The artist indiscriminately used colors.
Interpretation- This artwork makes me remember my childhood
Evaluate- This work benefits others by allowing them to remember
Describe- This artwork is made with projectors and screens
Analyze- Colors white and red are used to contrast the two people
Interpretation- This artwork makes me feel conflicted between red and white
Evaluate- This work benefits others by allowing them to see conflict
Describe- This is a photo that has been drawn on
Analyze- Colors have been used to display texture
Interpretation- This artwork makes me feel scared
Evaluate- This work benefits others in that it displays the undead of the original politicians
Describe- This is a solid piece made of clay
Analyze- Colors have been used to contrast outside from inside
Interpretation- This artwork makes me feel trapped
Evaluate- This work benefits others by relating to entrapment
Describe- This is a solid piece of wood with carving
Analyze- Colors are used to display text in the wood
Interpretation- This makes me feel patriotic
Evaluate- This represents Roosevelt's "big stick" representing American strength