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5 questions with Kelly Bryant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local artist and Monkey Barrel bartender Kelly Bryant got a treat recently when a pastel picture she drew was featured in the September issue of Guitar World magazine. The gazz spoke with Bryant, who is very pleased with the exposure, about how she ended up in the glossy pages of the respected musicians' magazine, as well as her growing portfolio of pet photos.

Q: How did you get your art in Guitar World?

A: I picked up a copy of Guitar World in January. I'm a big music fan and there's a section with art that said if you've painted or drawn your favorite guitarist, send it in and maybe we'll publish it.

So, I submitted a picture of Chris Ojeda from Byzantine. It was something I did for the Artmares exhibit [at HallowEast] last year.

I was checking to see if the picture was in the magazine for probably three months, but nothing, and then I kind of got busy and forgot about it.

A month ago, Chris calls me and says his friend, who has a subscription, saw him, saw the picture in the magazine. If you have a subscription to Guitar World, you get the magazine two weeks before it goes on the stands.

Anyway, suddenly, everybody is calling me.

Q: Did Guitar World ever contact you?

A: They never said anything to me, but everyone has been teasing me, saying you probably just didn't see it, but I'm sure I would have.

Q: What's your art background?

A: I've been drawing all my life. I started doing pastels in the 1990s, and that's what I prefer. I've done some art in town. I did one of the Peer to Pier murals last year and one this year. I did one of the rain barrels for the city and a StreetWorks sign [on the East End].

I do a lot of variety [in my subjects], but for the past few years -- and maybe because I've been a bartender for so long and been around bands so many years -- I've been drawing a lot of musical instruments.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I like a little bit of everything. I like rock and heavy metal, but I like Frank Sinatra too.

Q: What's next for you?

A: I'd like to submit some stuff for juried shows and do more pet portraits. I'm looking to work with a veterinarian with that. I've got about five pet portraits I'm supposed to do, but with the music stuff, I've kind of gotten behind.

A friend of mine has an Iron Maiden cover band. They wanted me to do this 9'-foot-by-6-oot backdrop for their band. I did that, and suddenly I'm getting bands commissioning me to do stuff like that. Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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