American Artist Paints Canvases Worldwide
We are thrilled to welcome Kelsey Montague, a world-renowned street artist who is known for her beautiful and interactive murals. Her work has been featured in many cities around the world, and she often uses the hashtag #WhatLiftsYou to share photos of her work on Instagram. At 29, Kelsey had just completed her first street art installation in NYC after practicing her craft for years.
Life-Changing Street Art
Taylor Swift’s IG post (that same week) of Kelsey Montague’s first-ever installation was a game changer for the artist. Ms. Swift’s post went viral, and Kelsey was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. It was an unexpected turn of events that opened doors Ms. Montague had never anticipated. All the buzz filled Kelsey with hope, and she realized this was her destiny. Now she describes it as her calling. Thanks to Taylor Swift, Kelsey’s career has taken off significantly, and she is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after artists in the world. [Read: How to Choose Art that Will Transform Your Home]
Watch Kelsey Montague creating a Mural: Video Below!
In 2019, Taylor Swift commissioned Kelsey Montague to paint a butterfly mural in Nashville. The mural was designed to be a portal into a song and upcoming music. Swift told The Tennessean, “We’ve commissioned this butterfly mural to be painted on a wall in Nashville and put clues about the song and the new music in the mural.”
According to Kelsey, “Taylor Swift really helped me start my street art career, helped me find my voice as an artist,” she said. “That someone I have so much respect for wants to be part of my work … it’s the biggest compliment, and it really comes full circle for me.” [Modern Boho Bedroom]
Street Artist with Over 300 Interactive Murals Worldwide
Fast forward, and Ms. Montague has painted over 300 interactive murals worldwide in Sydney, Hong Kong, Galway, Cape Town, and London. With each installation spreading messages of hope and love, Kelsey Montague and her sister, Courtney Montague, have discovered how to uplift the world, one delightful installation at a time. Kelsey and her sister Courtney transcend traditional barriers to global recognition by sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses on Instagram.
In a post written by Phil Nolan for Mashable, What Lifts You: The Intersection of Street Art and Social Media, Nolan writes, “Thanks to social media platforms such as Insta, Montague constantly engages her global audience with content by request, commission, and collaboration. Montague’s style is as whimsical and freewheeling as it is complex and considered. The angel wings, like social media itself, are loaded with smaller images and stories that help make up the bigger picture.” [How to Make Your Room Feel Alive with Colorful Art | Abstract Artist Elyse Katz]
Kelsey Montague – An Interview with the Talented Street Artist & Gigi Day
Street Art and Murals in Los Angeles & Orange County
I was first introduced to Kelsey’s street art via an installation in Southern California. A vibrant mural with flower wings charms passersby and juxtaposes dramatically with three playful children wearing masks.
And so, I reached out to the artist and she readily agreed to work with me in writing Mod Daily’s blog post. I love her story; I know you will too. [Bedtime Story]
How Did Street Artist, Kelsey Montague Discover Her Love of Art?
A 2014 entry finds Kelsey crediting her Mom with her love of art.
Gigi Day: Tell us about the artistic influence your mom had on you as a child.
A Mom’s Influence
Kelsey Montague: My mom is my inspiration and if I have kids, I would raise them the way she raised us. To explore, strive, and nurture artistic talent. Never, in my household growing up, was art looked down upon. It was ALWAYS encouraged.
I remember watching my mom in the office paint watercolors, and I was always in awe of her patience and skill. Her mastery of such a difficult medium has and continues to inspire me to grow and evolve my own art form – Street Art.
Art Materials and Tools
Kelsey Montague and Lessons on how to develop unique art styles.
Gigi: In a blog post titled “Types of Pens,” you shared that you were starting to work with more color and introduced rainbow sharpie pens in your practice. Do you remember what was taking place for you at that time? What inspired you to move out of your comfort zone?
Kelsey: I started to work with more color, I think, when the black and white murals I was creating started to feel easier… I think I was looking to expand my range.
Be disciplined, keep your voice and stand up for what is right.
Gigi: As your site launched in 2014, you reported that you had projects, commissions, and a thriving social media community. What are three tips for building a community on social media?
- Be disciplined. Posting every day or every other day is a LOT of work, but you are building a relationship with your followers, so they must know that they can trust you to consistently provide great content.
- Keep your Voice. Don’t follow fads. Just do you.
- Stand Up for What is Right. As an artist and an influencer, you are responsible for using your voice and creativity to improve this world. Don’t be shy about that when the time comes to share that with your audience.
Kelsey Montague – Artist Drawing
Angel wings and a grandfather’s legacy.
What Lifts You in Your Life?
Gigi: In an earlier blog post, you wrote, “One of my new favorite things to draw – angel wings.” They are amazing, beautiful, and inspiring to me.” Your story is fascinating, Kelsey. You have tracked the moment in your life that changed everything. We’d love to know your thought process at the time.
Kelsey: The first wings I did were and continue to be special to me. I wanted to allow people to feel strong, beautiful, and powerful and reflect on the important question What Lifts You in your life? I’d lived in NYC at that point, which is a tough place, and I wanted to give New Yorkers a break from the grind. It was only later I realized the legacy of birds I was building on from my grandpa.
Kelsey Montague’s travels shapes the artist she is today.
Favorite Travel Memory
Of all the places you have traveled to, what memories stand out the most to you?
Kelsey: In my first travel memory, my Mom took my sister and me to Europe, and we backpacked for three weeks. It changed my life forever and gave me my love of traveling. We would always sleep in the same hotel room together. It was so breathtakingly beautiful to wake up (at 13) and see vendors set up on the streets of Paris below us. That city was so stunning.
Another favorite memory is taking a tour through the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. This amazing monument has been both a mosque and a church for hundreds of years (It was built in 537), and I remember being floored by its beauty and history when we toured it.
Who are some artists (other than your mother) who have influenced your work?
Kelsey: My Grandfather. He’d hide a bird in all of his works (he was a watercolorist), and the bird symbolized his spirituality. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for those birds in his studio. My first interactive mural was a pair of wings because of that.
Besides Georgia O’Keeffe and Barbara Kruger, I also love Bisa Butler, Melissa Koby, and Swoon. Women (and especially women of color) are underrepresented in the art world, and it’s time to change that. The five words that come to mind when thinking of Georgia O’Keeffe and Sante Fe? Dense, color, strength, stark and sexual.
Successful Female Entrepreneurs
Building a global business with global brands and partnerships.
Entrepreneurs – How to Build a Business
Would you mind sharing with our readers what it takes to build a company as a creative?
See the long and impressive list of global brands Courtney and Kelsey Montague work with (below).
Kelsey: It’s important to have someone on your side who can help you with the business of being an artist. Someone you can trust, who gets you, and who can help with negotiations, contracts, and logistics. My sister is my business partner, and I wouldn’t be able to do this without her.
Kelsey Montague – Arts Around the World
This street artist is a masterful storyteller.
Gigi Day: Thank you so much for spending time with us and sharing your story Kelsey. You have accomplished so much in such a short time – I’d like to know what advice you would give yourself as a teen if you could go back in time.
Kelsey Montague: Take a deep breath, it will be ok. Trust yourself. Don’t quit.
Thank you Kelsey
Such great advice to share with our readers. We appreciate your tireless commitment to #whatliftsyou!
As promised, we’re sharing The Mod Daily’s art supplies selection for budding young artists. Here’s to your little one’s colorful future!
- 3-in-1 Art Easel (7 color options)
- Canson Sketch Pad – Wire Bound
- Faber-Castell Color Pencils
- Personalized Apron (color options & sizes)
- Paint Brushes with Ergonomic Handle
- Stockmar Watercolor Paints, Set of 6
- Stockmar Organic Beeswax Stick Crayons
- Artistro Watercolor Paint Set, Vivid
- Stockmar Art Set: Paints, Pencils & Pad
- Filana Organic Beeswax Crayons
- Stencils & Portable Drawing Kit
- No-Spill Paint Cups with Lids
Kelsey Montague Brands & Street Art Work
- GE Lighting
- United Airlines
- One&Only Resorts
- IMAX/Disney Australia
- Barry’s Bootcamp
- Saks 5th Avenue
- Pencils of Promise
- Twin Farms
- Coca Cola
- Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls/Always
- Capital One
- Universal Studio
- Lindt Chocolate
- Johnson & Johnson
- Old Navy
- Ally Banks
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog!
Kelsey Montague’s art is about more than just making compelling street art on walls. It’s about inspiring people to look up, to see the beauty in their surroundings, and to find what lifts them up.
We hope that you have been inspired by her story and that you will take a moment to leave a comment below and share her story with your friends. And if you happen to snap a picture of a Kelsey Montague Mural using #WhatLiftsYou, be sure to send it our way! Our readers shape the articles we write. What would you like to read next? Let us know in the comments section below! Next read: Welcoming Front Doors
There’s a common misconception that graffiti and street art are the same. In contrast to graffiti, street art is usually commissioned or created with permission. Also, graffiti is generally word-based, while street art is more image-based. Even so, there’s definitely a lot of crossover between the two forms, which some call “graffiti art.” Street art and graffiti both bring color and life to otherwise dull places.
The subway system in New York City made graffiti a growing movement, making it easier to coordinate, thanks to its accessibility. Graffiti artists most often use spray paint, paint marker pens or emulsion paint for roller graffiti.