Dirty Kelly is a term of endearment for a young girl who liked to:
jump in the lake
do handstands, &
spill on her shirt
I truly believe that when we’re not afraid to “get dirty” is when we feel our best somewhere…when we let ourselves be free to run, play, take risks, be spontaneous, laugh at ourselves, experiment, sing badly, & shine. When we remember our pulse & our inherent right as humans to laugh, cry, pee our pants, & skin our knee.
To remember to give ourselves “permission to play”.
This is pie. Cherry pie!
She studied architecture.
She thrived in the conceptual space.
She discovered she was an artist at the apple stand.
Her creative food:
to exalt and give praise to the “simple things”, like a leaf, a carrot, or a fat lady’s bum.
She wraps shacks with bright fabrics.
She gets Archbishop Desmond Tutu & local maids to jump on a bed in their boardroom/hotel lawn (respectively). She will soon wrap tractors, cows, & highways. She will soon get garbagemen from India to jump on her bed in the streets.
Messy Monkey Arts + Dirty Kelly Productions is about celebrating the everyday. The Extraordinary in the Ordinary. The Holy in the Mundane. The Pulse in the Monotony. Remembering & Rekindling the fire in a well of stagnant sterilization & 401k’s.
play * joy * beauty * abundance * connection * life * stoke * flow
(Dirty) Kelly (her childhood name relived!) is a conceptualist. An installation Artist.
THE FULL STORY/CV:
Kelly’s work has been a constant exploration & evolution. She found her flow in architecture school at the University of Oregon, a top-rated architecture school, which prided itself on it’s emphasis of design & theory. She nearly minored in dance here as well, as she found herself feasting in her explorations of space & movement in both fields!
PAINTING SIGNS FOR THE APPLE STAND:
She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduation to work at a firm for 7 months, realizing quickly (after Day 1) that this space wouldn’t suit, & wasn’t giving her even near the soul food & satisfaction that her school experience gave her. She traded the office chair in for a position at the apple stand in front of the architecture firm, hawking apples, peaches, & blueberries for (hand-over-heart) RAINBOW ORCHARDS at the farmer’s market. She made a bunch of quirky & whimsical signs for the stand (“$1.00/pound”, “Pink Lady Apples”, etc.), & literally laughed as she made them; using a set of children’s watercolor paints & pastels, as there were no rules or bounds here, the more vibrant & genuinely full-of-life, the better. The signs quickly drew attention from the crowds, including an art rep who sold “blue chip”/museum-level paintings, whom she hoped to produce a body of work for. In the meantime, she started having art shows, showing & selling at a plethora of places around the SF Bay. She was represented by the Lyssa Morgan Gallery in Tampa, Florida, & had commissioned works by both SF local individuals & businesses. She was accepted to a Grant Fellowship/Artist-in-Residency at the Vermont Studio Center.
MESSY MONKEY ARTS:
“What a great idea! A unique, fun, & cool experience for all ages & seriousness levels…You have a wonderful service that no one can rival.” –Alex A., Google
“My day with Messy Monkey Arts was by far one of the most fun days I have ever had. To be creative, spontaneous, & silly with my colleagues in a beautiful setting provided a well-needed break from the day-to-day grind. I can’t recommend a day with Messy Monkey more!” – Jeanne S., Global Business Network
This painting exploration led to her thinking she should teach kids, but only in “her” way, aka: completely conceptual & outside-the-lines. She started advertising at the apple stand, & tho the customers thought “Timmy & Susie” might be interested, they as adults wanted to join in as well. Kelly Loved this concept even more, which led her to pitch the idea to corporations for team-building events.
Her first experiment was with a group of friends where she created a “Wonder Bread” canvas for them to do peanut butter-&-jelly art on, as well as using a bucket of noodles as brushes to paint on the wall. And, let’s not forget, there was also the marshmallow creme station, ETC. Needless to say, this whole thing ended up in a massive food fight. And, as unforgettable & epic as this evening was, she quickly realized she was dabbling with a form of potentially loaded “art therapy” here; exposing people to a side of themselves that might surprise them, & therefore knew she needed to set up some clear structure, while keeping the exploration wide & free. In tandem, she also knew she was taking people outside their comfort zones.
So – her team-buidling events began with people playing unoffensive, anybody-can-do-it games she created like “Pictionary Olympics”, & eventually had people wearing white paper, tyvek suits, throwing buckets of paint on each other. She “padded” the event by wining & dining them with amazing food & beachy, &/or rooftop locations, all escorted on the lovely & designy TEACHERBUS, which came equipped with a well-used dance floor for memorable trips back to the office at the end of the day. Note that there may have also been unexpected stops en route back at a gallery where they would find their collaborative paintings on display, titled & priced, amidst a spread of wine & cheese! And, the cherry on top were the paintings back in their boardroom early the following week, & photos from the event in a calendar on each desk to remind them to take a simple risk or two throughout the year, & to keep playing.
“”WOW!!! WOW!!!! WOW!!!! What an amazing adventure! Our group got picked up by this super cool, veggie fueled, solar powered bus with bright orange and white interior. Complete with a dance floor and music bumping, our group danced our way across the streets of San Francisco in style!
All we knew is that were going to go play fun games in a really cool atmosphere, and that is exactly what we did. In between the dancing on the bus, we played some partner games on the bus that had us laughing and hugging and standing on our heads…..yes, head stands! (purely optional)
So we arrived at this secluded beach on treasure island (one of many places mobile recess goes)…After we finished [a slew of hilarious games, I hadn’t played in 20 years!] some of us jumped in the COLD, but refreshing Bay for a swim before boarding the bus again and heading back to the City. The whole thing took about 2 hours and we were back to our life as usual…just majorly refreshed! – Claudia M.,
The above gives you a good idea what went on at her side project to Messy Monkey, aka: “Mobile Recess”. To carry on with her lovely collaboration with Peter at TEACHERBUS, the 2 brought in their partners (Inke & Saul respectively), & formed MOBILE RECESS.
The concept was a quick version of play, the premise not so dissimilar to that of Messy Monkey, where they’d use the bus to take you out of the office for 2 hours total to play some classic 1980’s “recess” games in an unexpected location with views & fresh air to reboot & Refresh you for nowhere near the cost or involvement of a full day event.
“I am a HUGE fan! Kelly & her Cre8 team blew our minds, far exceededing our expectations with the most innovative fundraising event I’ve ever been a part of. Our attendees raved about the event and we can’t wait for the next one!”
– Betsy Merzenich, Peralta Elementary School Parent
“CRE8, a fantastic, fun and innovative way to raise funds—the most fun I’ve ever had at a fundraising event. Messy Monkey Arts was fabulous in the creation of a memorable event to commemorate our 20 years. Everyone keeps asking when are we having the next one…?!! Thank you Messy Monkey Arts and CRE8!”
– Ruth Patino, Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley
She took these same original Messy Monkey concepts into the fundraising world. But, this time she gathered 8 artists, put them around 8 canvases, & gave them 8 minutes. Each “station”, so-to-speak, had a different “Messy Monkey” tool at it to paint with, be it a broom, a toilet-bowl plunger, or a squeegee, for example. These catered events were held at a gallery in the back work space with 200 viewers surrounding the artists, & a DJ. 2 rounds of painting were held: 1 round being auctioned, & the other raffled. 1 round had the artists painting over-top of each other’s work collaboratively, & the other of their personal work, as they carried their canvases from station to station. Kelly, & the crowds, loved the energy at these events. The concept was a “match”, & a win-win place to take this work.
PARTY IN A BOX:
“Party in a box was so great which made it so fun and I would definitely do it again. “ –Dylan T., 14 yrs. old
Full circle. People were asking Kelly why she couldn’t do these events for kids. Because the nature was rather “larger than life”, the cost was not cheap. But, with the help of Frank Zincavage of Romeo Void, her beloved neighbor, she made a cd to pop in a box, along with a condensed painting kit for 8 kids or adults (age 5-105) at a party, bar mitzvah, corporate event, or wedding to do wherever & whenever they pleased.
PLAY JUMP EAT:
“Kelly Wainwright’s delightful Cape Town series, PlayJumpEat. See The Arch jumping! Good medicine on a sunny day.”
– Vanessa Raphaely, Ex-Content Director of CosmopolitanSA, MarieClaireSA, House&LeisureSA, & GoodHouseSA
Kelly didn’t want to limit herself to 30 people bouncing on the end of a pier with panoramic views of SF (as she had been with her Messy Monkey events). She rather wanted 30,000 people to bounce on balls on the interstate; but how to begin? Amidst brainstorming with some friends, it occurred to her that she could just have 6 friends bounce across Market St. (main vein in SF), where she could photograph it & BAM! Somehow this worked for her: live installation meets “flash mob” meets photography. Somehow it worked. But, she didn’t Just want them bouncing on balls, rather skipping rope & jumping on beds as well, for example. Of all her “6 ideas”, she felt bed-jumping was the most classic & universal, originating in palaces & shantytowns worldwide. We were all born babies who turned into kids who jumped on beds, who randomly (or not?) ended up suburban mothers, business men, the Amish, & Madonna. The concept was to capture all the humans in all their different walks of life back in these same origins: the Chinese ladies in Chinatown, the Oakland Raider football players, & the taco-truck workers, to name a few; all with that same primal & divine bed-jumping expression on their faces.
Kelly ended up taking this project to Cape Town, South Africa, where it ‘exploded’. You can read more about the BED JUMP & CAPE COUTURE project here. *Note that Cape Couture had the same principles behind it, as Kelly had many more images calling to be birthed. With “play, joy, beauty, & abundance” being the common denominator to both projects, she pulled both projects together with the umbrella title: “Play Jump Eat”.
The project was to have culminated with a large auction at Groot Constantia, Cape Town’s oldest winery, with 300 participants already having purchased their tickets. There were to be dancers, live bed-jumpers, 6 screens, a dj, a dinner, a runway ramp to re-create every image, re-dressed trees, ETC. However, due to extraneous circumstances, the event had to be delayed, & due to more extraneous circumstances, Kelly unfortunately had to leave S. Africa back to SF.
NOW Kelly is hoping to take these images, which are still full of life, & post them dinosour-scale on the sides of buildings in downtown Cape Town & beyond as they are calling to be seen & shared in this way on this level. Kelly doesn’t want them privately viewed in a ‘precious’ way; limited to a gallery or living room. Rather, they are to be shared for ALL to see.
This project, at first glance, may make you think, “WTF?!”. EXACTLY. Kelly’s thoughts exactly. But more like, “WTF?! WHERE’S THE FUN?!”. As she goes into unexpected & everyday spaces dancing, etc., it is just a continuation of the questions she’s always been provoking in her work. What are we all doing?! Why are we getting up in the morning? And with that, Where’s the stoke? The light? the fire? the juice? The chutzspah? The viva la vida? Did we forget it somewhere along the way? Maybe not, but if so, maybe we need a little reminder that we have a pulse. A slight injection of “movement” & subtle, but harmless risk-taking to help us remember what is already so prevalent in our bones & our breath: Our Energy. Feeling. Life. Inspiration. Vision. Passion. Zest. Connection. From the most true place within us. All of us.
It’s a suggestion, a dare, a homeopathic sound-byte to Rekindle. Revive. Reawaken.
It’s less of another alarm buzzing, & more of a “Chinese fire drill”; a bucket of cold water on the head…To remember, What motivates you? Excites you? & not in a “superficial”, sterile, or simply “playful of fun” way either. I’m talking from the GUT. Strip away the “everyday”…the learned (yet often meaningless) routines, the “to-do’s”, the 401K’s. What is your song? What is your dance? Do you remember?
This concept all started when she stumbled on a dance video about movement. She so resonated with everything the DJ was saying, & felt like it could’ve been her talking. When she enthusiastically shared the video with her friend, her friend exclaimed, “This is your medium! The dance with the beats with the words! You already have content: all the blogs you’ve written in the past, etc.”. When Kelly “tried it on for size” & read & recorded one of her blogs, she saw the words quickly transform into poetry + another dimension. This excited her. She then filmed herself dancing in her living room, threw it onto iMovie (which she’d never used), fumbled around with some spontaneous edits, & threw some beats into the background. She loved it! It quite “hit her like a brick”, & it made her feel that this medium gave her so much liberty! She didn’t have to wait around for models or sites or…She could just GO DO all the hundreds of “installation-like, flash-mobby” things she was “fantasizing’ about” for Years, in a charrette-format (which she Loves) through Dance (her possible Biggest love in life?!). WATCH THIS SPACE!
To note: Kelly’s friend Koleka Sofuthe is her partner in crime on the shoots as chief videographer, creative assistant, p/t model, dancer, & xhosa-speaking translator.
One thought on “About/History”
Lovely to read you, cuz. I’m so happy you are following your bliss! Love and kisses