Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ryan Kelley

One of Kelley’s most popularly commissioned and recognized sculptures are his wire trees, which he attaches to small granite boulders. The intricacy of the branches coupled with their fierce, windswept movement is reminiscent of mountaintop flag-trees, called so because of the heavy winds that make the tree’s branches grow in a banner-like shape. When observing the sculpture's tree trunk, which looks like an abstract spiral staircase winding upwards as it splays into spindly branches, one can’t help but feel as if the tree grew on its own.

“I live in the woods, I’ve always been surrounded by trees,” says Kelley. “The tree hanging on to a rock says a lot about the sculpture – perseverance, strength, and holding on tightly to something.”

Byfield's Wire Artist Ryan Kelley

"Stone and copper wire don’t typically exude grace, beauty, and warmth, but when they’re in the hands of wire artist Ryan Kelley something nearly magical happens. A stone becomes a solid, sturdy base for trees whose delicate metal branches twist, turn, and come alive, as though they’re caught in a breeze or about to burst into bloom.
“I can take a spool of melted metal and through twisting, you turn something that’s very harsh and very cold into something that looks alive,” says Kelley. “I like to be able to step back and say, it started as a five-pound spool and now it’s a two-foot tall tree.' 

What began as a word-of-mouth business for family and friends has quickly bloomed into something much bigger. He not only creates custom commissions that can fetch anywhere from $100 to $5,000 or more but has also been tapped by Beverly-based interior designer Amanda Greaves to create custom pieces for local businesses. “I think he has a really great energy,” Greaves says. “His trees are amazing.”

And although he’s young, Kelley, at 21-years, is already very involved in the North Shore arts community, working to bring a new, youthful vibe to seaside galleries that are so often crowded with paintings of ocean scenes in gilded frames. He’s a member of the Newburyport Art Association and also serves on its board of directors."

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