Kelly Tunstall (born 1979) received her BA from California College of Arts and Crafts in 2002. Working in acrylic, collage, spray paint, pencil, pen and ink, gold leaf and some secret sauce, the experimental, yet classically grounded works live somewhat comfortably in a space between graphic expression, stylized representation, surrealism, and sketch. The patina of age and calligraphic drawing methods lend further depth to her story-filled worlds.
The simplicity of the messages are enhanced by the underlying vitality and complex layering within the work. In her portraits, Tunstall renders stylized female figures and their adaptations to environment: nests built of painted boards held together by drawn nails or far off planets. The physical form and its accompanying exterior become a mirror for internal thought processes and turmoil.
For instance, frequent themes such as mermaids, twins, or extra limbs concede a desire, a reliance, an adaptation, or more simply, an aspiration to something greater than being in the painting they inhabit.
Also working in illustration, installation, and multimedia projects, Tunstall plays with the contrast between a compositional formality and a more casual revelation of method.
Tunstall has shown nationally and internationally, often in collaboration with her husband, Ferris Plock. Her work is on permanent view at the restaurants a16 and Bar Crudo, both in San Francisco and at Alcazar and Cheeky's located in Palm Springs. Her following includes technologists and rockstars, fashionistas and foodies alike.