Kelly Gale Amen, designer, artist, philanthropist. Choose any of those titles and they fit, yet try to describe Kelly in one word and you can’t. Who is the designer behind the infectious smile? His joie de vivre and zest for the sublime set him apart, leading to a sense of design like no other. His style is truly original, derived from a sense of space, light and color, motivated by his heart and soul.
Kelly first caught the design bug as a child, re-arranging his mother’s flowers in vases and he never looked back. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1971 with a degree in Interior Design, he moved to Houston a year later and set up his design studio. Observers of Kelly’s work muse at his ability to take the mundane and make it whimsical if not in some cases outrageous. He has two constants in his design style, the use of mirrors and a bold melding of color and texture.
He firmly believes that the home hugely affects your mood and state of well being. His goal, to create a space that transcends your personality and life. He looks at an interior space as a creative art form.
Much has been written about this award winning, world renown artist and designer. What Kelly creates cannot be derived from a book or classroom, and can only flow from within and be described as organic.
How did Kelly evolve into creating Art Furniture? A design job in Atlanta back in 1991 required a piece of furniture that did not exist, thus prompting him to craft his signature triple section bronze bench with fossil stone top.
The popularity of this bench has garnered the attention of museums and galleries across the United States. In fact, the triple bench is part of the permanent collection in Eleanor Tinsley Park, and the Houston museum of Natural Science.
Locating a foundry to craft his art furniture was not an easy task. He searched the country looking for just the right place, finally settling on a foundry in Alexander City, Alabama. Even at that it wasn’t easy. Kelly says they questioned his ideas and said “No.” He financed the first bench and has developed a lifetime bond with the foundry.
His simple yet elegant public bench series has found a permanent home in Weatherford, Oklahoma’s Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Center. The benches can also be seen in James Butte Park, in Houston’s eastside warehouse district, in Houston’s Bob Lanier Public Works Building and is a permanent addition to the newly re-constructed Looscan Library.
In our throw away society, Kelly aims to leave a lasting impression. His creations of bronze, iron and aluminum are made to stand the test of time. Be it his signature chair which combines classical Roman and Greek style, to his loggia table or enclosed console, KGA art furniture is one of the purest examples of sculpture in a utilitarian form.
While his life might mirror the appearance of a high profile celebrity, Kelly takes time out to help those in need. Without seeking notoriety or fame, he gracefully goes about his life giving of his time, money and artistic talents to several charitable organizations.