28-year-old Kelly Ording grew up in Los Gatos and later moved to San Francisco to attend the Art Insitute. She attributes her atmospheric, delicate aesthetic to the Asian folk art she first saw in her Grandmother’s house. Her imagery incorporates the traditions of kimonos, screens and fans.
“I’m attracted to the simplicity,” Ording says. “One line can pop out at you. You’re observing what’s there, but also what isn’t there. You have to fill in some things with your own mind. I’m attracted to the simplicity.”
“It’s about craftsmanship as well,” she says. “You can study it for your whole life.”
Ording works during the day at a fine art shipping company, “moving around five-million-dollar Picassos” between Pac Heights, the MOMA, The Asian Art Museum and Butterfield’s, she says.
“I’m surrounded by that during the day. Then I’m part of this other thing that is young, without money, and about opening up spaces. MIMI Bar on 16th between Guerrero and Valencia is a good example: people work together, and it’s not about money or selling – it’s about the idea that you’re making something. It’s the opposite of consumption.”
After logging a full day at work, Ording often paints for eight hours or more at night, sometimes using a single-hair brush to paint the most delicate of forms, or dying paper in coffee to give it an antique look.
“It’s important for me to make something beautiful” Ording says. “There’s a push in the world to make things that comment on the world and reflect its ugliness. For that reason, I create things that make people feel good, happy.”