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John Kelly was born in Scotland in 1939. Kelly immigrated to Canada as a young boy. His experiences as a Merchant marine seaman sailing off the coasts of Canada and Alaska would later be the subject of his artwork. Displaying a precocious and prodigious talent, Kelly advanced quickly to study at the Art Center College of Design in the Los Angeles area.
Influenced by the rich tapestry of his life experiences and world travels, Kelly's body of work is impressive in many ways, but especially in its far reaching international scope. A true renaissance man, John Kelly today is widely respected and honored for his past and present work as a painter lithographer, multimedia artist, lecturer, and musician. He continues to be a worldwide lecturer and consultant for numerous universities and art centers.