My name is Kelly Mitchell Gazdowicz and I’m a fine artist and illustrator living in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Burrowing Home is a collection of my original illustrations on a range of handmade products including prints, paper goods, home décor and accessories.
My first memories of art are from children’s books. I remember feeling a sort of awe and magic when I looked at the illustrations. When I started making art for myself, I really wanted to capture that feeling. I also grew up surrounded by nature; I would spend hours hiking through the wooded areas surrounding my home, collecting unique flora and observing the wildlife. I think these are the subjects that make our world an amazing place, so I choose to tell my stories artistically through them.
My illustrations start with a desire to capture a story, feeling, or mood. It can be something small and seemingly insignificant, like the sound of bees around an apple tree or walking through the woods on a windy day. I draw or paint slowly and meticulously, capturing the smallest details. A single illustration can take me up to three months to complete. Once I complete an illustration, I photograph and clean it up digitally, removing any dust particles, smudges or other imperfections. At this point my illustrations are ready to be made into a range of products including temporary tattoos, cards and pillows.
An artist’s original work is like their finger print; it is completely unique to them. Because I am my business, having the highest quality products is important. When someone receives something from me, I want them to be able to feel the heart and soul that went into making it. Every illustration comes from me and my point of view.
When I decided this was the career that I wanted to pursue, I felt held back by my own fear. It took me years before I felt comfortable showing anyone my work. Etsy, along with local indie art shows, gave me a positive environment to exhibit my art and build my confidence. It’s been an amazing way to connect with people all over the world. Knowing that I have art in someone’s home on the other side of the globe is an amazing feeling.
All photographs by Burrowing Home.