Kelly Bjork grew up in Tacoma, Washington and graduated with a B.F.A. in drawing and printmaking from Western Washington University in 2009 and has been exhibiting her work regularly from Seattle to New York to France and in between ever since. Her paintings have been featured in numerous online and in print publications, including New American Paintings, McSweeney’s, No Man's Land, The Stranger, and The Washington Post.
Kelly Bjork's work focuses on portraiture and intimacy between loved ones and objects. She shows the tenderness that can be experienced in this world through selective simplicity and tiny details. With our current socio-political climate, it is important to recognize these often-unnoticed moments in our daily lives, and to remember that they exist. Bjork’s paintings help her move forward openly, by presenting what is good in our world.
She has received numerous awards and residencies, including the Helen Frankenthaler Fellowship for the Vermont Studio Center, the 2019 Facebook Artist in Residence Program, and The Fellow Ship Artist Residency in Guemes Island, WA.
In 2019, her first large-scale mural was executed for Seattle's Facebook offices. She worked with Facebook again in 2020 to create an image as a message to Seattle as the uncertainty of the pandemic was continuing which was then wheat-pasted in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. Creating imagery in support of the Black and LGBTQ+ communities as an invitation for viewers to insert themselves into the embrace and co-elevation these figures were offering to marginalized communities.
Kelly Bjork's debut New York solo show in 2019 openly depicted her journey of personal self discovery. A pivotal moment in her work where she extends the loving tenderness which she treats her subjects to herself. Often depicting the uncomfortable and awkward moments of self-reflection in intimate and private spaces, such as bathrooms and bedrooms, becoming a voyeur of her own changing self- identity. Laying her self and her feelings bare, both figuratively and literally, this body of work embraces the discomfort of change and the beauty and freedom that follows. Bjork’s next solo exhibition will be held in 2022 in Seattle, WA.