Artist, Dimensional Art | Read Artist Bio
Kelly Nygard came to discover her artistic side later in life. At 56 years old, finding herself with more free time as her children became adults, she started exploring the art of mosaic. Having always held a deep appreciation for the intrinsic beauty of glass, she experimented with different materials, substrates and techniques. As her small Minneapolis home and garden became crowded with various garden sculptures and 100# wall hangings, her husband suggested trophy animal skulls as a substrate and her passion was ignited.
Growing up in a home with a father who was an avid hunter, fisherman and taxidermy artist, Kelly was no stranger to animal skulls. She then married into a family of equally avid hunters. So, while she is a passionate animal lover and would never consider hunting herself, she recognized a target rich environment in all the beautiful animal skulls sitting around in people’s basements and garages. Today, while she is occasionally gifted with an animal skull from a hunter, most of the skulls that Kelly obtains for her creations come from ethically sourced online specialty companies.
As any artist knows, creation is hard work. It requires passion and dedication to persist for hours and hours in pursuing a vision, only to have it fall short of expectations – and then start over again with equal, or greater, passion. In an experimental medium such as skulls, this was never truer. Kelly persisted through hours and hours of instructional videos, workshops and research to piece together a technique that results in not only a uniquely beautiful piece or art, but also one that is sturdy enough to survive the rigors of packing, shipping and display that is required.
Today, the technique is proven, but Kelly continues to spend hours each day in her studio, testing out new materials and color combinations; searching for unique focal points for her creations and then building around those with glass tiles, Czech glass seed beads, hand-blown glass beads, leather, gilding – and sometimes a special found object. The result is an ever-evolving collection of amazing new creations. While Kelly is aware that she will never match the skill of the Original Creator, her work seeks to bring out the inner beauty, grace and elegance of the horned species. Running her fingers over the delicate bones of the skulls, she hears the stories they long to tell. Stories of glory, beauty and a simple understanding of life. Her beadwork brings out these intimate stories, creating a reborn object, once again worthy of our respect and admiration.
When Kelly is not in her studio, she takes pleasure in spending time with her family in Minnesota, where she has been active in the vibrant recovery community for over 20 years. Kelly is the Director of Marketing for a national senior fitness company and manages 3 of her own territories in Minnesota, Wisconsin and SE Iowa. She enjoys long road trips with her beloved companion, Django and spending time walking along secluded beaches and through quiet forest paths. She believes wholeheartedly in pausing to savor the moment and seeing the beauty in both people and natural surroundings. More than anything, her art allows her the time to dream peaceful dreams and quietly enjoy the gifts of life.