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Take 5 with Lisa Kelly

Take 5 with Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brisbane, who enjoys expressing the power of the female form within her works. She has a background in psychology and is planning on incorporating her Masters in Social Work into her arts practice.

Take 5 with Lisa Kelly:

Name and Art Style ~ Lisa Tran Kelly I am a multidisciplinary artist working within a composite art style.

Hometown ~ West End, Brisbane.

Current residence ~ Still in good ol' Bris just a different suburb.

Website ~

Instagram ~ @themoongallery

What inspires you? ~ When I create work for myself most of my inspiration is drawn from nature, childhood stories and folklore from my Vietnamese heritage, and the beautiful everchanging Australian sky I grew up under. We are lucky to have such brilliant blue skies here and our clouds can be mesmerizing how they move across the sky and are so different every day. I'm also greatly inspired by themes of humanity and mental health from studying and working in the mental health space. Mindfulness naturally comes into arts making so I like to try and infuse a little bit of peace and tranquility into my work because we all need a bit of that sometimes.


Favourite medium/tool/program? ~ I love gold leaf and the process behind it. The waiting game to see if you got it down correctly is so worth it when it comes to brushing it all away to reveal the final piece (or all the mistakes you’ve made where you missed some of the glue).

Last book you read? ~ I've just finished reading two really good ones, Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee and Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston.

What does success mean to you? ~ Success to me means nourishing your soul with something that genuinely fulfills you. This looks different to everyone but for me, it means balancing my two loves for creativity and something that actually makes me money. Just joking - it means balancing my love for creativity and my love for working in the mental health space and advocating for the disadvantaged within our community.

First artwork you sold and when? ~ The first artwork I sold as an "adult" was about six years ago and it was a painting of a snowy forest with a family of deer by a lake. It was still wet the day I put it up in the cafe where it was exhibited and I never got the chance to take a photo of it because I left for Vietnam the day it was hung, and it was sold by the time I got back. I kind of wish I had some evidence of what it looked like because I can't really remember it as it went through so many different stages.


Netflix or Stan? ~ Netflix all the way. (I just illegally stream anything on Stan).

MAC or PC? ~ Mac.

Extrovert or Introvert? ~ Apparently there is actually a spectrum and you can be an ambivert which is a bit of both and that sort of sums me up.

Dogs or Cats? ~ Equally obsessed with both.

Radio or Spotify? ~ The radio in my car has been broken since I bought it and I can't justify paying for spotify if I pay for Netflix, so I listen via Youtube.

One self-care tip? ~ Practise self-compassion and mindfulness every time you feel yourself slipping into a slump. There should be no shame in looking after yourself.

Do you collect anything? ~I collect books, plants and art materials that are sometimes forgotten about and never even opened because I overestimate my ability to follow through with projects.

Best quote you've heard recently? ~ "What we don't need in the midst of a struggle, is shame for being human." - Brene Brown, Social Work Queen.

Last thing that made you laugh out loud? ~ My boyfriend being ridiculous and this video of Mr Bubbs the dog not being a good boy:

What was the last big risk you took that created opportunities you didn't expect? ~ This was more a risk in terms of financial capacity and mental wellbeing. The first big mural commission I did was the biggest work I'd ever done, it was all in gold leaf (a time-consuming medium) and took place during the final semester of my Psychology undergrad. I came to the brink of multiple mental breakdowns and in the end, the project worked out so that I was only paid like $5 an hour including all my materials and ladder hire. Even though it was something I leaped into rather naively, was way out of my depth and wasn't necessarily worth the money or time; the feeling when I stood back and looked up at the finished piece was the most satisfying thing I've ever experienced. This wall gave way to a new confidence and thirst for bigger projects and it did lead to many other great art things in the years to come. It was a great learning curve in managing commissions and being assertive; all tools that have helped me with so many jobs since then.

How do you define your journey so far? ~ While I've always made art since I was a kid, the journey has been a relatively short one as I've only really properly focused on art in the last three years. That being said, it has definitely defined the best part of my life and I'm grateful to be a part of a really talented community of friends and creators who have supported my art making and progress. I'm still amazed that I can make money from doing something that I love so much and can't imagine life without it.

What's next? ~ I have a few mural projects coming up and an art residency I'm preparing in Brisbane. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by inspirational creatives so will hopefully start working on some collaborative exhibitions in the next year and try out different forms of expression like performance art. I'm graduating from my Masters of Social Work at the end of this year and hope to combine my studies with my arts practice in an art residency in North Vietnam afterward. I'd love to explore my heritage and learn some of the traditional arts making processes over there, as well as spend time in the local community with Vietnamese artists and create a collaborative project that explores culture, art and the shifting role of women in the community.


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