Kelly Tunstall has been one of my favorite artists since I first saw her girls painted all over 111 Minna, a gallery in San Francisco. I knew who she was. I loved her work. And then, by chance, I met her while I was at another show ogling an installation she had done with another friend whose work I love, Maya Hayuk.

Kelly's girls, in my opinion, should be on everything girly. I think the Japanese market would swallow her up. If I had my own magazine, I'd give her a monthly illustrated fashion column. (Hopefully she'll do some fashion stories for our new magazine.) I've never seen anyone else work like her, draw like her, create fantasy like her. I love the girl in the first image. She's my style. This image sits on my desktop. I love her and wish I was her. And every time I look at her, I wonder why more people haven't hired Kelly. (Don't get me wrong, though, because Kelly is quite successful. )

And this is a portrait she did of me! She sent it to me after I finished writing my last novel. I love how flash pink it is.Notice the letter "M" in the center.

Here's another one. I'm not sure if it's me or not. But I did ask her about it when it debuted at a show. "It says MT on the coin purse, Kelly..." To which she replied, "Yeah, and she has two cents and she's still proud." Truth be told, I was broke at the time. :) And the color of the eyes. May-be. You see a lot of Kelly's friends in her paintings. It's pretty fun to try and figure it out. 

Like this one. A mutual friend told me Kelly had painted me as a pirate girl with her limbs hacked off (which I thought was funny because we might have had a tiff). But the girl in that painting didn't look anything like me. Then Kelly sent the below image to me. The eyes are totally me. It's almost eerie. If you compare it to the pink painting above, you'll see the similarities. This is the kind of magic I love about her paintings.

And I love it when she does these black on one color pieces:

I also love when she draws on bits and scraps like the tags below. I wanted these. But they sold in a second at a Giant Robot show.  I would love to live in a world where all the girls walking around were a girl of Kelly. ♡

a Trace magazine tearsheet featuring Kelly in her Hotel Des Arts room
(and her YSL Mary Janes!) in San Francisco.

all images courtesy of Kelly Tunstall

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