Artists of Note | Kimry Jelen

A voice for the animals

Kimry Jelen, Moonlight Rendezvous, acrylic, 30 x 24.

Kimry Jelen, Moonlight Rendezvous, acrylic, 30 x 24.

This story was featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

“I grew up in an artistic family,” says painter Kimry Jelen, “but horses are my passion and true love.” Jelen’s artwork is emerging after a circuitous journey.

At first, Jelen says, “I tried to do the corporate thing, but my heart just wasn’t in it.” After a decade in fashion and 
outdoor-clothing design, she realized technology had changed her artistic career into a 14-hour-a-day computer job. “Two years later, I was out in New Mexico and Montana working on cow ranches,” she says, and painting in her spare time.

Jelen devoted herself to becoming a better horsewoman and began to realize surprising levels of depth and emotion in the animals she was working with. “When you see the animal as an animal—when you don’t humanize it—it’s an amazing opportunity to learn,” 
she says. Along with her deepening awareness came highly expressionistic portraits, not just of horses but of unique beings with individual personalities.

Now, Jelen says, “I see myself transitioning to being more of an artist than a trainer.” And her work is turning heads. As this story was going to press, Jelen had just returned from the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, where she was one of only 10 invited artists.

Jelen says, “I would like to be a voice for the animals,” sharing her techniques of working with them, building on their natural intelligence, strengths, and abilities. “I think our relationships with animals help us get back in touch, and I hope my paintings can help with this.” 
—Laura Rintala

Jelen is represented by Ozone Fine Art, Newport, OR; Galerie du Cheval, Perpignan, France; Two Blue Ponies, Tumalo, OR; and Absolute Horse, Bend, OR.

Featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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