Owen A. Kelly is a dual citizen of the US and Ireland. He was born in San Francisco and later attended the Peddie School in New Jersey. He holds two BA degrees, one in Environmental Studies from the University of Redlands... [more]
Owen A. Kelly is a dual citizen of the US and Ireland. He was born in San Francisco and later attended the Peddie School in New Jersey. He holds two BA degrees, one in Environmental Studies from the University of Redlands and the other in Commercial Photography from the Brooks Institute, CA. He has a foundation in construction, aviation and is rough traveled. In his free time, he practices welding, Instrument flight training, traditional dark room printing and prepping for Kilimanjaro climb in Jan. He currently lives in Downtown LA, where he works on the production of his book, “The BRC Playa Portraits.” He gave up his career as an Operations Manager at Edge Grip and interning with David LaChapelle, to pursue his Art full time. Owen’s study of photography took roots in Photojournalism where he explored the individual’s association to purpose and place. This led him through months of backpacking through areas such as Tibet, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mexico and many other countries. This study naturally manifested itself when he first attended Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, NV in 2004. Owen’s initial projects took the form of functional, utilitarian-based art installations. This included a water tower that showered thirty people for a week, a large viewing platform that housed the kitchen with a functioning in-home fireplace on top. On his fourth year, he started the BRC Playa Portraits and built a nomadic studio to explore the social tapestry of Burning Man on Type-55 Polaroid. Subsequently the project has grown in scope. The following year with 20,000 lbs of scaffold, he built a drive through Polaroid Booth. It measured 125’ wide x 40’ high. Mutants (Art mutated vehicles) drove through their studio portrait session and received the original Polaroid from the shoot. The negative, also produced from Type-55 Polaroid was processed in the field, combined with harsh desert conditions and dust. In 2010, he built a modular shack that housed a dark room and built a mobile, hand drawn cart to photograph various Camp. In 2011, he repurposed his 2010 modular Shack to fit on a back of a utility trailer to shoot portraits of BRC LLC (senior staff members, board of trustees, and volunteers of Black Rock City). The studio was reinforced to haul large prints for playa, decompression, gallery exhibitions, and Burning Man production. It was built robust enough travel at 55 mph and still deliver lighting inspired by Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.He is now traditionally printing his 4x5 Polaroid work from 2011 in his loft, setting up new exhibitions and drafting 2012 potential projects. His worksites have been rooftops, backyards, alleyways, loft hallways and the Playa. He is soon to move his workshop to Big Art Labs in LA to begin working out of a shipping container for his future BRC projects and random constructions.