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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kelley Vo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelley Vo.

Hi Kelley, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a non-binary neurodivergent Southeast Asian American artist! My passion for art started when I was around six years old. I loved reading the newspaper comics and trying to emulate those same styles.

I slowly moved into other media as I grew up, such as watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal; however, my true calling was in digital art! At first, it was really difficult to convince my family that I wanted to be an artist, especially as a first-generation Asian American. I began my journey by promoting my art on social media and creating pieces to sell in high school. I used this money to buy my first Wacom tablet! By 2018, I began selling my art online and I never gave up on being an artist. I pursue art not only in my interest but also to show my family that I will be a successful artist.

As of today, I continue to surround myself with positive and creative people to become an even better artist. I’m pursuing ceramics and clay while still creating art in the digital space.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road was definitely bumpy with lots of potholes along the way! My family had only thought that art was a hobby of mine. Many of them believed that art was not a “real job” and that mental illness was “fake/made up.” Which is extremely difficult as a person with ADHD. I needed art to express myself and better understand my emotions. I didn’t receive mental health assistance for a very long time and art was the only way I could truly process my environment. In a way, art helped me “slow down time” when my brain would be moving so fast. It took time and persistence to eventually convince my family on the importance of mental health and how art is a tool for lots of neurodivergent people.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I specialize in creating digital art. I draw mostly everything and anything! I’m mainly known for drawing plants and portraits. I also experiment a lot in different mediums. I mentioned this before, but I recently got into ceramics. So far, I’ve created plant pots and bowls. It’s so therapeutic and fun to work on a wheel and make something with clay. One day, I want to retire in a ceramics studio and just teach people the joy of creation.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The COVID-19 pandemic taught me the importance of patience and time away from the screen. As a digital artist, it’s hard to not constantly check my phone and doom-scroll. I could go from studying art styles to falling down this spiral of overwhelming news. I think that it is important to stay updated on important news but also take time to process what’s happening around us. I personally found that it is good to stop doom-scrolling, if possible, to avoid desensitizing myself on negative news.

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