Artist of the month: Kelly Jean’s ‘Blocked’ Photography

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Artist Kelly Ocock (‘19) captures the memories held within objects in her photos.

Ocock, more commonly known by her artist name Kelly Jean, opened her own student exhibit to public viewing on Feb. 1.

Ocock is also The Anchor’s very own Photo Editor. She has shown an aptitude in photo-medium ever since a photography course she took in high school.

“I’ve been interested in creative things all my life, but [it was] in my high school photography class [that] I considered my role as an artist more seriously,” she said. In Ocock’s exhibit “BLOCKED,” she has multiple photos capturing scenes of her subject listening to a tin-can telephone, lone tin-cans themselves, and a literal tin-can hanging from the ceiling by a piece of string.

“BLOCKED is a study of disconnect,” Maddie Zimmerman (’20) said. “This show approaches the idea of loneliness from both an artistic and a psychological perspective, examining how we both set up and run into blocks in our own relationships, and how this lack of communication can deeply impact our lives.”

The photos appear to be free of any additional filtering or editing, and the colors and themes are very cool and organic in tone, with the setting of a wooded area and the lack of any bright or flashing colors and patterns. When it comes to the unifying themes behind her pieces and how they intersect with her own artistic interests, Ocock shares her connections to memory.

“A theme of art that has been interesting to me lately is works that focus on memory, whether it’s personal memories or remembering human history. It gives the unique perspective of the past through one person’s view,” she said.

Indeed, Kelly Jean’s use of tin-can telephones is a definite throwback to many of our own childhoods. Had it been styrofoam cups or old soup cans, the materials may have varied but the results were almost always the same: a garble of vague dialogue carried along the string between young kids, often followed by childish giggles or blowing raspberries.

Ocock says that she had initially felt hesitant to declare her art major when she came to Hope College. She knew photography, but had little experience with other art mediums and lacked a clear-cut style of her own.

ly late because of my fears in not being proficient enough in mediums outside of photography,” Ocock said.

However, after a while at Hope, she gained confidence in photography and other kinds of art.

“As a young artist, I wouldn’t say I have a specific style yet, but through my art classes here, I am exploring styles and different mediums. In my recent photography, I have liked to explore both surrealism and capturing things in their natural state.”

Though they may not be glamorous or in great numbers, Kelly Jean’s pieces have a certain humility, practicality and commonality about them that is often forgotten or underrepresented in the art world. When asked if she had any advice to share with other students unsure about art, she ties back to the hesitation she had had herself.

“I declared my art major fairly late because of my fears in not being proficient enough in mediums outside of photography, so my advice to others considering art would be to try a few classes and don’t be afraid of learning new things.”

While she’s still undecided about the possibility of attending an art school, Kelly Jean explains her interest in the field of art therapy in the future. For the time being though, Kelly Jean’s artistic endeavors and capabilities are, like any good photograph, still developing. She certainly has the potential to do very well in the future.

Kelly Jean’s pieces will remain for public viewing in Student Gallery room 147 in the Depree Art Center until this Thursday for all those interested in her art and examples of humble but fine-quality photography.

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