Kelsey focuses on portraits of people and animals, almost always accompanied by vibrant succulents, flowers, and desert plants that give her work a whimsical feel. You can see from her work that it is directly influenced by El Paso and her family. The use of pastel colors reflects the beautifully colored houses around the city. Kelsey explains that the plants in her paintings always remind her of her childhood, when she would walk around her grandmother’s and parent’s gardens, reminding her of an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Kelsey paints many portraits of important woman, some of which are her family members and others Kelsey identifies as prominent matriarchs of the Southwest. She explains that these women are wearing crowns made from various flowers and cacti to demonstrate the importance of women in the family, but in our culture. The cacti in the crowns represent the women’s resilience and ability to bloom even in difficult situations.
Kelsey credits the El Paso community as an important influence in her work, the friendly and welcoming environment as well as our rich culture. She does, however, think that explaining El Paso and Chuco references to others outside our community can be difficult. She explains that El Paso is so unique that people who have not experienced it firsthand cannot fully understand its magic. This is why art is so impactful according to Kelsey, because she can communicate messages and feelings without having to say something out loud. By making her art approachable, others can appreciate El Paso and Chuco things through her eyes.
For Kelsey, sharing her love and pride for el Chuco is something that she can achieve through story telling but most importantly, through her art. You can go check her art out yourself at Chuco Relic!