In the the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there lies a cute little bake shop at the exit of the L Train station. Inside the 'Bake Shop by Driggs' waits Kelly Beeman who as much as she is a skilled visionary, is punctual too.
As I arrive with a book-bag on one hand, a handbag in the other and a small notebook somewhere in between my fingers, trying for it not to fall, I find myself rushed and slightly distracted. The relaxed and polished illustrator meanwhile, is already sipping on her iced coffee, naturally. As I sit down with her though, I set myself in the relaxed mood she's in. It calms me down. My mind lets itself be innovated as I start listening to her story.
One thinks there are only answers out there, but deeply thinking about it, there are more questions left unanswered. Once arriving to those answers, then we've done something important and necessary. What's fascinating about Kelly's work is that it has more answers than questions based on how different fashion can be portrayed, in this way, its easier to see and allow art and fashion to be easily intertwined as speaks to us with profound emotion.
Not far from the bake shop though, is where the magic truly happens. At her apartment Kelly can be found a great amount of time during the day doing what she essentially loves - which is; creating, illustrating, developing her own craft. The enthusiasm in her self developed specialty, has allowed her to acquire a signature figurine in her work. This cynical and dauntless art like creature embellished by graceful and rich garments, is nothing but the image Kelly wants to depict. A certain freedom with an unaffected expression to one's surroundings.
What Kelly does differently though, is that she creates a certain source of imagination for the rest of us to think and interpret from a recent collections from Summer/Fall and Winter/ Spring from creative directors that fit her own vision. The set of designers she finds herself most influenced by are; J.W Anderson, Erdem and Valentino, to name just a few.
Her creative expressiveness isn't only dominated by fashion, but also through art. Classical art, specifically. And if I may say, she does it splendidly unique.
"Art history. Classical art, medieval art. I like the way that they render the figure. In medieval art you see a lot of elongated figures, and it has a very sudden look that appeals to me a lot."
Noteworthy artists such as Picasso and German Expressionists like Christian Schad have also impacted her in inexplicable ways.
"Probably more influenced in artists than fashion illustrators," she says.
Nothing to feel bad about though, its one of the best ways for illustrators to be guided if they look for their own niche, their own signature. And this is exactly what Kelly does. She deals with this fantasy world of her own through all of these different resources in the arts.
She treats fashion as if it was a fantasy too, just as she once did as a little girl with her own sister.
"Instead of having dolls, we created with art materials the dolls themselves, and their whole world around them," she said.
Imaginative and diligent, Kelly is certainly at a place in her life where she is truly happy about. She has worked her way up day by day for four years now in the career that has clearly made her feel as a more complete individual. And although its rare of her to feel satisfied with a piece she may be finished with, it has still been a skill that has developed very smoothly. That even though there may be complex times, lonely days and sleepless nights, at the end of it all; its certainly worth it.
She is doing what she loves, and as she says, it is "a connection towards making music too". Meaning it can become something not only filling up her own soul, but the souls of others. It has certainly ended up moving J.W Anderson's soul per se, as he lately re posted on Instagram one of Kelly's illustrations on his recent Loewe collection she got to sketch at the his Paris showroom.
Sure, its one step at a time, a day to day process, but in this digital era, and with the fast-moving speed Kelly unconsciously carries, results have been able to develop more rapidly. All because she has been let herself be driven to much more than just a new collection during fashion week, but the whole message of the garment itself. The experience of observing its own world and imagining how its gonna end up looking on her skeptical, elegant and sophisticated-looking models, is all she needs to experience, just as long as there's coffee on the side, in part of the process.