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James Kelsey



In my 20 years as a sculptor and public artist, my general approach to creating public art has varied surprisingly little since it has always worked and left very happy people in its wake.

First and foremost, I love the entire process of creation — everything from writing this letter of interest to talking with art commissioners and interested parties to overcoming the obstacles that arise from time to time and even working with contractors, suppliers, and engineers.

That very sincere joy keeps me going.  It also makes working with me easy.

I have always said that as a professional artist, ‘professional’ is much more important than ‘artist’.  I understand there is real money involved as well as schedules & timelines, and I am proud to say I have never failed to deliver on time, and always with sculpture which exceeds expectations.


I bring to my public art a rich background.  I was a high school dropout yet graduated near the top of my class at Eastern Washington University.  I married at 17 yet have been a fire fighter, served my country in the U.S. Air Force, and have attained a commercial pilot’s license.

I grew up in poverty in Renton, but have lived in Iran and Italy as well as traveled the world to such diverse places as Bombay, Timbuktu, and even Spokane.

A strong foundation is vital for any profession, so I began my art career by taking a 2-year welding program designed to train welders for the Naval shipyard and am quite accomplished at most welding techniques.  I understand metallurgy and can talk knowledgably to my engineers.

Perhaps most importantly, I understand the need to communicate with people—it doesn’t matter if they are the movers and shakers, the media, or the general public.  It is important to not only understand the historical context and conceptual influences in a work, but also to speak with children and explain why art is important what finding out what a specific piece might mean to Them.


I have extensive expertise in working with all elements of Public Sculpture.  I have teamed up with city governments, art commissions, corporations, and private collectors, as well as school faculty members, police departments, special interest groups, and engineers in my role as an artist.

2014: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, “Holding the Intangible”

2014: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, “Tuareg Sun”

2013: Callison, Inc, Lacey, WA “Helios,” “Industrial Heart,” & “Eye of the Beholder, II”

2012: Public/Private Commission, Belfair, WA, “Beginning Again Once More

2011: Multicare – Good Samaritan Hospital, Puyallup, WA, “Eye of the Beholder, V”

2008: Karat Development, Richmond, British Columbia, “Tsunami in Steel

2008: Bremerton Police Department Sculpture, WA, “Tides of Justitia”

2007: City of Issaquah, Issaquah, WA, “And Mithras Danced”

2006: Bridgerland Applied Technology College, Logan, UT, “Eye of the Beholder, IV”

2006: Tacoma Police Memorial, Tacoma, WA, “Memories of Blue”

2004: Government Center, Bremerton, WA, “And A Turning Point Was Realized”

2004: The Manor, Lynnwood, WA, “Eye of the Beholder”


International Sculpture Center

ARTrails of Southwest Washington

West Sound Tech Advisory Board

Olympic College Welding Advisory Board

Board member, Evergreen Playhouse

Volunteer, Fox Theater Restoration Group

Artist Trust


2015, ARTrails studio tour, Centralia, Washington

2014, ARTrails studio tour, Centralia, Washington

2013, ARTrails studio tour, Centralia, Washington

2012, Charles Wright Academy Auction, Tacoma, Washington

2011, Bellevue Festival of the Arts, Bellevue, Washington

2010, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Gala, Bellevue, Washington

2010, Art for Equal Justice, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

2010, Kitsap Literacy Spelling Bee Fundraiser, Silverdale, Washington

2009, Art for Equal Justice, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

2008, Art for Equal Justice, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

2008, Seattle Museum of Flight Auction, Seattle, Washington

2007, Pike Place Market Foundation, Pigs On Parade, Seattle, Washington

2007, Bellevue Festival of the Arts, Bellevue, Washington

2007, Urban Impressions, Two Vaults Gallery, Tacoma, Washington

2007, The Night Tacoma Danced, Tacoma Art Museum fundraiser, Tacoma, Washington

2006, Bremerton Unity Church fundraiser, Bremerton, Washington

2006, South Kitsap Artists’ Association

2003, Outdoors Art Exhibit, Carillon Point, Kirkland, Washington

2001, Outdoors Art Exhibit, City of Redmond Sculpture Park, Redmond, Washington

2001, Kitsap Golf & Country Club, Bremerton, Washington

2001, Invitational Exhibition, Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, Washington

2001, Gardens of Art, Seattle Art Museum Supporters, Seattle, Washington

2000, Artistic Design, Olympic Community College, Bremerton, Washington

2000, Iron Design Center, Seattle, Washington

2000, James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation Award

1999, WAVE Scholarship (Washington Award for Vocational Excellence) for sculpting


1964 – Born, Seattle, Washington

1977 – 1978, Lived in Tehran, Iran

1984 – 1986, Lived in Aviano, Italy

1998 – 2002, Studio Assistant to Stone and Glass Sculptor Will Robinson

2000 – 2002, Assistant to Glass Artist Marilee Moore

1995 – Present, Full-time Sculptor


1996-1998, Olympic College, Bremerton, Washington, Welding Technology Program

1992, B.A., Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, Interpersonal & Business Communications

1990, A.S., Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, Washington, Commercial Aviation



The Chronicle, July 26, 2013  “Sculpting Success”

  • Good Men Project December 11, 2013 “Beginning Again Once More”

  • Kitsap Sun, September 10, 2012  “New Belfair sculpture is talk of  the town

  • Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal,  March 1, 2011 “Good Samaritan Hospital unveils work of Port Orchard artist James Kelsey”

  • Port Orchard Independent, February 25, 2011 “Scene and Heard” (Good Samaritan Hospital)

  • Tacoma Weekly, June 1, 2010, Review of Tacoma Police Memorial

  • West Sound Home & Garden Magazine, Fall 2009, “Soul Into Art”

  • Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, August 2009 “New public sculpture proposed by Port Orchard artist”

  • Port Orchard Independent, April 3, 2009  “Scene & Heard” (Tsunami heading to Richmond, BC)

  • Port Orchard Independent, May 8, 2009 “South Kitsap taking a walk on the artsy side”

  • Kitsap Sun Wednesday, April 16, 2008 “Police Department Launching Pad for Public Art Program”

  • BKAT Television, September, 2008, Inside Bremerton, “1% for the Arts, Police Station”

  • Kitsap Sun, April 17, 2008 “An Arresting Debut for Public Art”

  • The Renton Reporter, August 20, 2008 “A Bit of Renton in His Art”

  • Seattle Times, July 28, 2007 “Art at Every Turn”

  • The Tacoma Weekly, June 7, 2007 “Artist Combo Breathes Life into ‘Junk’”

  • Ovations, Published by the Utah Arts Council, Winter 2007

  • Art in America, Annual Guide, 2006

  • Tri-City Herald, April 21, 2006 “Art unveiled in downtown Kennewick”

  • KOMO News 4, Eldridge, Keith, Seattle On-Air News Report, May 25, 2006

  •, May, 26, 2006, “Ceremony, Memorial Recall Fallen Officers”

  • The News Tribune, May 25, 2006 “Sculptures, poem honor the fallen”

  • Tri-City Herald, April 21, 2006 “Art unveiled in downtown Kennewick”

  • Kitsap Sun, March 25, 2006 “Sculptor’s Work Now Installed at Grounds”

  • The Herald Journal (Logan, Utah), August 10, 2006 “Bridgerland Applied Technological College gets new sculpture”

  • Tri-City Herald February 24, 2006 “New Artwork for Kennewick”

  • Tri-City Herald, May 15, 2006 “Getting a feel for art”

  • Tri-City Herald, April 14, 2006 “Blue Trinity to be dedicated Thursday”

  • The Daily Sun News, March 10, 2006 “Sculptures gracing gallery, public spots in Tri-Cities”

  • The Kitsap Sun, January 16, 2005 “A new “Turning Point’ to dress up downtown”

  • The Olympian, January 12, 2005 “Sculptor Collects $30,000 Paycheck”

  • Port Orchard Independent, November 30, 2005 “Artist is South Kitsap’s man of steel”

  • The News Tribune, October 24, 2005 “Sculptor will honor fallen Tacoma officers”

  • Tri-City Herald, April 29, 2005 “Expanding Art”

  • The Signal, February 6, 2004 “Aphrodite rises in Edgewood”

  • The Olympian, June 4, 2003 “Artwork more than sculpted metal”

  • VSAC2003 (Vacuum State of the Art) Ultra High-end home audio world conference- Winner: Best in Show, Craftsman Speakers (“Heimdall’s Trumpet”)

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