In 2008, Kelly Rae Roberts was a medical social worker with a thriving Etsy shop on the side, where her deeply inspiring mixed-media artwork was on display and in-demand. She didn’t begin exploring the urge to make art until she was in her twenties, but the audience for her colorful, lighthearted creations grew to include members of DEMDACO’s Product Development team, who contacted Kelly about licensing some of her work.
“I was doing well selling my originals, and I’d heard horror stories about licensing from other artists,” Kelly said.
She took a leap of faith after learning more about DEMDACO and its owners Demi and Dave Kiersznowski, and when Kelly’s first line of licensed wall art became available at the January 2009 Gift Show, it was surprisingly well-received. While her art conveys the joy, comfort and love that connects DEMDACO products, at the time Kelly’s unique style stood in sharp contrast with other offerings.
“Making art is therapeutic for me. There is always something to release on the canvas, something to notice, something to experiment with,” Kelly said. “Inspiration, beauty, and encouragement is everywhere. I love bringing that forth, in my own way, onto the canvas.”
In the 10 years since Kelly joined DEMDACO’s community of artists, the relationship has grown as her signature works of vibrant, mixed-media paired with soulful sentiment are translated onto home accents, fashion and jewelry, sweet baby gifts and more.
“Ten years is long for any relationship,” she said. “Keeping the momentum is a real joy.”
Still a social worker at heart, her art conveys a genuine desire to help others with emotional expressions of hope, possibilities, healing, strength, and self-care. A key element in her art has always been text and messages with inspiring sentiments.
“My background is in Social Work. When I began making art, the pieces were deeply personal to me and whatever I was working toward or healing in my life,” Kelly Said. “The words were—and have always been—messages that my heart has needed to hear. As I grow older and evolve, the messages have evolved as well, but I consider each piece an important messenger in my evolution.”
When’s she’s not in the studio working on her prolific collection of work, Kelly enjoys hanging out with family (husband John, son True, and two English Bulldogs). She also loves decorating and interior design, and gardening!
At DEMDACO, we’re privileged for the opportunity to work with artists like Kelly. As this partnership continues to evolve, we all look forward to seeing what Kelly creates next!