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New Gallery Backroads Americana Opens At Artique

The Artique gallery in Kamas is opening a new exhibit. Local artist Tom Kelly’s showing is called Backroads Americana, he will be there with his work tonight at an artist reception from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

Tom Kelly has long been a photographer although his return to the medium has him thinking about it more as an art form than before.

“I was a newspaper news and sports photographer literally when I was in high school in Madison Wisconsin and into college I worked for daily newspapers." Kelly explained, "I was doing great there and then our newspaper went on strike in 1977 and I ended up doing PR for this ski area in northern Wisconsin. That kind of pushed me into the ski business. When I think back to my early days as a photographer I was a functional photographer. I was there to record what happened on the football field, or a fire, or an accident whatever it might be. I never really thought of myself as an artist. It’s only really been recently that I have. When digital photography came in I picked up a camera again and started to photograph more and more. I ran into Katie about four or five years ago. The gallery was interesting to me and my wife Carole Duh got in there with her fiber art. I did a gallery show I think in 2015 and I’ve done one each year. First year was barns which are a favorite of mine. The next year was wildflowers which is appropriate here in Utah. Last year I did one called Light, Land and Sky and this year I thought I’d tour the backroads of America and do Backroads Americana”

Kelly says his childhood Sunday drives inspired his interest in backroads.

“We were bootleggers." Kelly joked, "We would drive down from Madison to Rockton, Illinois. They didn’t sell margarine in Wisconsin, the dairy state, so you had to go down to Illinois to smuggle margarine back across the border. We would go on these Sunday drives and it was all backroads so as a young boy I did a lot of traveling by car on these backroads. Now we have these interstates where you can zip along at 85 mph and its wonderful nice scenery, but you don’t see America. This summer my wife Carole and I decided to go back to Wisconsin and not touch the interstate highway system and just use backroads. We got to the point that we really preferred county roads and town roads not even U.S. highways. It allowed us to stop and there was no other traffic. It was just us and the horses. I was looking for old gas stations, dilapidated old abandoned buildings, pastoral farm scenes, great old barns. We found all of that and that’s going to be captured at Backroads Americana at Artique.”

Artique Gallery owner Katie Stellpflug describes how the photographs are being shown.

“Tom has printed some on canvas and some on regular photo paper and in frames." Stellpflug continued, "We have barnwood frames. We have a new artist—and a good friend of Tom’s that worked with him at the U.S. Ski team—Walt Evans. He’s making beautiful barnwood frames and even adding metal and horseshoe nails to them. They really compliment Tom’s photo’s very well. The rust and old wood on the photos are beautiful of course in their own way the frames really enhance that. There is some barbed wire and some creative ways of hanging some of the smaller prints as well.”

Backroads Americana is running now through the end of October at the Artique gallery in Kamas.

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