When you see his work, you know it.
Illustrator/artist Gary Kelley has developed a distinctive style. But neither his style or living in the Cedar Valley has limited his success.
Originally from Algona, he graduated with an art degree from UNI in 1968, working for a local graphic firm.
By 1986 he ventured on his own, and now has international as well as national clients. Although he still creates from a small studio in downtown Cedar Falls, he doesn't feel out of touch with the creative worId.
"I'm going to L. A. this month and New York in February and in April; those are semi-business trips. I get to travel, so that takes the edge off it. I don't feel at all isolated. It probably doesn't hurt that my clients are far flung, from Austin, Texas, to L. A. to New York. I don't feel like I'm missing out," he says.
"It wasn't my plan when I started out to stay, but I wanted to enjoy my work and get approval of my peers. I just gradually settled in and all of sudden there I was with two kids in the schools and enjoying that."
Most recently, he's done a four page spread to accompany a jazz feature for Texas Monthly; pieces for Entertainment Weekly, L.A. Magazine, and Texas Monthly Magazine, a brochure for the Great Southern Railway in Australia, and a Man of the Year cover for the German magazine, Der Spiegel.
Upcoming projects are artwork for the 50th anniversary of the UNI Sinfonian Dimension in Jazz show, and covers for "The Complete poems of James Hearst," and P. D. James mystery books. He is also art editor for the literary magazine, North American Review.
Excerpted by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson from an article by C. J. Hines in the Waterloo Courier, January 21, 2001, page K1.