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Armida Kielty: In Her Own Words
Jun, 27, 2023
Armida Kielty: In Her Own Words
From a young age, Armida Kielty has been drawn to bright colors. Now, she paints rainbow-colored sunsets from the streets of Arizona’s cities, capturing the sky’s beauty with vibrant colors.
Armida studied painting at Arizona State University and her background in theatre helped her comfortably begin a YouTube channel where she has built a community by documenting her creative process. Her bright paintings have been showcased at the @Central Gallery, Chaos Theory 22, PHX ART NOW IV, and most recently the Flinn Foundation Art Exhibition Cycle 2.
We spoke with Armida Kielty to learn about the inspiration for her work, her use of color, and more. Here she is, in her own words.
“Using thick oil paint, I create a neon cloudy sky where the sun is hitting at the perfect angle in the horizon that makes the clouds light up… [It] just puts me in awe every time I see it in real life.”
Armida Kielty, Portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: Tell us about who you are and when you knew you wanted to be an artist.
Armida Kielty: I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I have always been inspired by the views that this city gives me. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been drawn to bright colors. I would choose to wear bright colors whenever given the chance. Looking back, I think it stemmed from being limited to what I could wear most days. I had to wear a uniform to school as early as kindergarten, so when given a choice on what to wear, I wore the brightest of colors for my entire outfit. Plus, my parents let me choose the color of my bedroom walls and I chose a deep magenta color. Who would do that except someone with a love for color? Now thinking back, I do use that same deep magenta color in a lot of my paintings.
I didn’t get a chance to lose myself fully in the visual arts until I attended Arizona State University to study painting at the School of Art. Before then, I mostly expressed myself in other art mediums, including theater and music. While performative art can be powerful during the moment it’s expressed, I have found that the visual arts come more naturally to me. The hours of solitude, preparing a piece with love and care, sharing it with the world when I decide it is time; this process has its own power. My years in theater help me comfortably express myself on my YouTube channel where I document my art process, while also getting personal outside of just being an artist. The community I am growing online is unique beyond anything I could imagine. I uploaded my first video in December of 2021 and have already uploaded over 100 videos. Along with being inspired by other creators that document their creative process, I suppose it was the feeling of connecting with others that made me upload that first video. My husband and I had friends leave Arizona that year, so I felt lonely for friendship and wanted to share myself in videos to fill that void. Now that I am a mom, I just hope my daughter grows up to appreciate her surroundings. I hope to become a hardworking example for her by perfecting my art, while also taking care of her at her young age.
Armida Kielty, Someone New, 2022. Oil on canvas. 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What do you typically explore through your work?
AK: I specialize in oil paintings depicting bright rainbow-colored sunsets, usually from the streets of Arizona’s cities. Using thick oil paint, I create a neon cloudy sky where the sun is hitting at the perfect angle in the horizon that makes the clouds light up. It happens in such a unique way that is quite rare. It just puts me in awe every time I see it in real life. I have to paint every crazy sunset I see. What makes my paintings unique is my choice to enhance the bright colors in the sky with the oil paint and using my hand to thicken the texture of the clouds. Aside from simply capturing the sky’s beauty, I paint Arizona’s sunsets because I have a love-hate relationship with this state that I call home. Its scorching heat makes the summers almost impossible to enjoy. So in order to reconcile my appreciation for my home, I paint the very sky that plagues my days. With each painting, I learn to love Arizona.
Armida Kielty, Test Drive, 2021. Oil on canvas. 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What are the media that you prefer to work in, and what are the topics or subjects that you most focus on?
AK: Narrowing down my subject matter to cloudscapes and cityscapes was not a quick process. I have always felt a slight pressure to lean into more realistic imagery, which can be seen in my cityscapes, because many people often resonate with that kind of work. While I love to challenge myself with recreating these intricate details, my love for clouds and color will always come first. This is no surprise because my love for color has always been there, even before I picked up a paintbrush. I just love to lose myself in bright neon colors and blobs of clouds.
PhxArt: Who are your greatest artistic influences?
AK: I am inspired by many contemporary artists, including Ellie Eveleig, Erin Hanson, Chris Long, and Anastasia Trusova. Their use of color and texture is a source of inspiration in my work. I also love artists that create YouTube videos, since I am also trying to document that process myself with my work. There is just something so personal about documenting the creative process, so I love to see other artists do it as well.
Armida Kielty, It’s a Good Day, 2021. Oil on canvas. 40 x 25 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What’s something you’re currently working on or have recently exhibited?
AK: I recently showcased my first solo exhibition The Flaming Twilight Hour at the @Central Gallery inside of the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix, featuring all of my rainbow-colorful cloudscape and cityscape paintings. It was truly magical having a whole gallery filled with my work and a monumental step for me in my art career. I also recently showcased paintings featured at Chaos Theory 22 at Legend City Studios, PHX ART NOW IV at Mesa Community College Art Gallery, and most recently the Flinn Foundation Art Exhibition Cycle 2.
PhxArt: What is some advice you’d give to aspiring artists just beginning to build their professional practice?
AK: Just apply. Just do it. So many artists starting their careers hesitate to apply to art opportunities and art calls that are a perfect fit for them because they don’t think their work is good enough. Something as simple as just applying and reaching out can get your foot in the door. I thought the same intrusive thoughts about my work after I graduated college. What inspired me to feel more confident was seeing other artists my age show their work in amazing art exhibitions in Phoenix. If they could do it, I could do it. And so can you!
Armida Kielty, Rainbow Clouds Over Grand Ave, 2022. Oil on canvas. 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What can our community expect to see next from you? Anything on the horizon?
AK: At the moment, I am focusing on being a stay-at-home mom for my infant baby girl, Marceline. With my studio at home, I am continuing my cloudscape and cityscape series, while video documenting the process for my YouTube channel. I currently have work displayed at both Valley Coffee Company and Brightside Studios in Phoenix. But of course, you can see my work online on my socials and my website.