Winning six months of free rent would be a boon for most people, but it’s especially exciting if you’re an artist. OLiVE DTLA, a new art-inspired apartment community, recently announced that it will provide a two-story loft for its first artist-in-residence Kelcey Fisher (a.k.a. KFiSH). During his stay at OLiVE, the Los Angeles-based muralist will create original artwork on interior and exterior walls, exhibit artwork in communal spaces, and receive a monthly allowance for supplies and support.
Relocating is nothing new for Fisher. A “Navy brat,” his family moved frequently during his youth. When his father finally retired in Coronado, California, Fisher excelled in both art and sports in high school. He moved east to attend business school and play lacrosse, but found himself skipping out on his responsibilities to make art. After two years, he withdrew from business school and drove a beat-up truck back to California where he enrolled in Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. By his junior year of graphic design studies, he was selling work, and moved to Venice Beach.
Given all the residential upheavals in his life, it should suit Fisher to stay in one place, even if only for half a year. He’ll use his time at OLiVE not only to deck the walls with his creations but to work on a new series of artwork that he’ll debut at a show with Street Art House in January 2018.
Crave: What prompted you to apply for the artist-in-residence program?
Kelcey Fisher: I hit a dark part of my life and was looking to make some drastic lifestyle changes. When I did that, the week after I committed, my friend Justin Fredericks with Street Art House, reached out to me. He hit me up, like, “There’s this artist-in-residence program. It could be an amazing opportunity if you’re looking for a fresh start.” So I applied. It ended up working out.
What type of work do you anticipate creating while living at the OLiVE?
A variety of work. I have a lot of creative freedom there. One of the cool things I’m doing is, when you come out of these elevators, there’s these lobbies on every floor, so there are massive walls where I’m having international collaborations go down. The first floor’s going to be Mexico City with an artist named Vero Villarreal Sada. The second floor will be Australia, then Italy, and France, and so on. Each floor, when you come out, will be a different international collaboration.
What does mural painting allow you to express artistically that painting on a canvas does not?
It’s the ultimate show of confidence in your work. You’re really exposing yourself to the public eye. Nothing’s permanent when it’s exterior. It can get tagged, ridiculed, or it can be loved. On top of that, I like to connect with people, and you’re reaching such a broader audience when you’re doing an exterior piece – and affecting their lives, hopefully in a positive way.
How will the architecture of the OLiVE influence the work you create there?
I will create a couple permanent murals for the OLiVE that will go with their style, but the architecture’s not going to influence my personal artwork. The surrounding city in downtown L.A., the people, and the culture – that will have more of an influence than anything.
Will there be any interactive elements to your artwork that involve the other residents of the OLiVE?
I won’t be painting with the residents, but I’ll have new art fluctuating throughout the building constantly, and I’ll definitely be having some events at the OLiVE. I’ll be having people in and out of there all the time – all kinds of artists, photographers, all my models and shoots will be going down there. I’m all for the residents dropping by and seeing what’s going on. It’s not going to be a shut-door policy by any means.
Will it be hard for you to have a private life while you’re living there? Or is working where you live second nature for an artist?
I don’t know if it’s second nature for every artist, but that’s kind of how my career started out. In Venice Beach, my first real art studio was in the place I lived. We would be out late nights until the establishments closed and those managers and owners would come back with us and watch me paint. That turned into a lot of the murals that I got in Venice at the beginning of my career. It was very much an open-door policy. I think it inspires more creativity and brings in another sense of energy to your work. If you’re just shut up and a reclusive artist, I don’t know how much room that leaves for experiencing or exploration of new styles.