Eye-LIKEy chats with British Artist:

Tracy McGuinness-Kelly

Tracy McGuinness-Kelly is a British born artist whose background lies heavily in illustration. “The way I perceive my work is striving to tap into my childhood subconscious, trying to remember those feelings, thoughts and dreams, whilst simultaneously utilizing my adult artistic experience and editing skills". Tracy lived in the U.S. for 16 years, where she worked for Hallmark Cards, creating award winning illustration and design, and as a freelance illustrator, clients included; Starbucks, Nickelodeon T.V, American Girl, Unicef, Time Warner, Galison Books, and Little Brown Publishing amongst others. Tracy subsequently secured a 2 book contract to write and illustrate ‘BAD CAT’ a series of children’s books which received critical acclaim in the U.S, Japan and S.Korea where they were published.

How do you stay inspired? 
 All different places form link off websites of artists i love
to simple walks down countryy lanes to nature programs on telly,all over the place.
i also sometimes feel like i am overloading on images,need to take a break then the inspiration kind of bobs up to the surface, artists naturally edit all the time boil all the stuff down then re-interprate in their own way.

Typical work day?

Quite erratic, jumping from one task to the nextmaking small steps forward on as many ideas as i can, it can be difficult and frustrating because youreally want to make a clear headway but paying jobs/family life etc have to have priority when living on the breadline so its a compromise but i reckon if you choose to be an artist you cannot go into it without total belief that it will take you to incredible places. It takes huge dedication and courage.

Favorite project you ever did?
 i think my children,s books with Bad Cat that was and is huge in my life.
i want to do more books. also very excited about BFR

a big robot made up of discarded and broken toys he is a character in development.

check them out!
Favorite place you ever traveled to?
 god so many, but have to say the Grand Canyon.Also amazed at the beauty of the greek islands.

Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet?

right now parts of Yorkshire the next county over from where i LIVE. and AFRICA, JAPAN, INDIA etc etc etc 

Tracy working in her studio.

Top 3 Favorite website + blog/s    Jen Kosteckis blog inspirational educational and informative same goes for maura Cluthe another hallmark artist very inspirational. i love illustration mundo also for just looking around at all the amazing individual styles out there that can inspire on so many different levels.


FAVORITE movie of all time  ?

"SOME LIKE IT HOT" never fails to amaze me the perfect comic timing of all involved.

love mIRO MATISSE  paul klee , Squeak Carnwath ,Grayson Perry to name a few

Dream assignment + project for the future?
 Animating my work especially my kids book character Bad Cat. Making into a cartoon series out of it.
i also love surface design would love my own line of wallpapers,
fabrics etc.

Tracy making some COOL art with your son.

The huge amount of inspiration I get from children's art and working with them, i love the way they approach it with such enthusiasm and fearlessness. I learn a lot from them. My 10 year old son gives me fantastic art direction and has done for a while. I am amazed by his art and the way its developing, now and again I will mix a little bit of his art into mine [ i ask him if its ok] . He already has a clear idea about his work, he is forever developing and changing it is great to see that happening. - T.M.K.


If you weren’t an artist, what would you like to be?

i would pursue writing.

Just taken up sewing i found this local lady who makes incredible wool felt from 100% sheeps wool, its an amazing material and an amazing ancient craft, the colours are phenomenal and i have been buying embroidery threads which is another amazing world to discover and i am making tiny teddies i love it.

Lately i prefer silence but i love all kinds of music,i usually put music on when i am cooking, dizee rascal is always uplifting i love quincy jones too.

Tracy's show @ the Stockport gallery 2011

SETTING UP her "Eye Candy for the Soul" show

Best advance to an artist either still in school or just out, looking to get started?
Be 100% committed have courage to really be yourself not an imitation dont be scared to be free with your experimentation.even tho artists are sensitive you gotta try  to be tough it takes a lot of practice.

Tracy working on her mural for the local elementary school children ( her old school by the way!)

TRACY : i was revisiting that big mural i did for the children's playground and i am very proud of it and i LOVE that is made up of all the children's work and now reflecting on the images some of them arejust incredible, well most of them really. I find it so telling about the spirit of children, how they hold so much potential. I remember the excitement when they saw it for the first time finished, and they were all eagerly looking for theirpiece, and i am sure a couple may of even been a bit disappointed in not finding theirs as i had to finish somewhere,

and now two years on the children that were part of its actual making are every year leaving for high school and new ones comein and see the mural with completely fresh eyes.Another interesting thing is this school is my own school that I went to and so did my mum so there is alot of self discovery going on.