Kelly Anna and Her Vision of Female Power in Sports

Kelly Anna and Her Vision of Female Power in Sports

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"Watching female athletes in various sports always fills me with pride. Seeing their mental and physical strength inspires me even more." Kelly Anna has made an impact not only in the fashion industry but also in the sports world, working with top brands and global icons. Her work highlights the significance of female power and challenges the boundaries of how women are perceived and represented in art and sports. London-based artist and designer Kelly Anna blends art, fashion, and sports in her work, focusing on portraying women as symbols of strength, energy, and determination.

Kelly Anna & Levi's, source: Dribbble

Born into an artistically inclined family, Kelly Anna has been involved in various sports from a young age, profoundly influencing her artistic style and approach. Her passion for sports and movement is reflected in her vibrant color palettes, fluid strokes, and bold graphic elements that characterize her artwork. Kelly Anna draws inspiration from the female strength she observes in sports and strives to capture it in her creations.

Starting as a fashion illustrator, she gradually expanded her portfolio to include work for Nike and partnerships with BMW, Penguin, and the NFL. Her designs have been worn by celebrities like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Cara Delevingne.

Kelly Anna, source: It's Nice That

After several years, she left the fashion industry to become an independent artist, and now she has successful solo exhibitions in London and Madrid. She engages in various projects, collaborates with charitable organizations, and works with sports clubs. "I’ve always enjoyed watching my work evolve from a sketch on paper to the final product. That’s what I love about my job. I get to see my designs on hundreds of different products, but to me, they all represent the same world."

She describes her style as follows: "In one sentence, I would say it’s vibrant color palettes and bold graphics combined with fluid strokes and abstract collaging. I’m not sure how it all fits together, or if it does at all. My work tends to jump from fluid lines to strong graphic shapes, but I let it be – this versatility and curious approach have led me to where I am today, and I enjoy it." For her, the creative process is spontaneous. She starts sketching on an A1 pad and lets herself be carried by movement and rhythm. Every line she makes stays there. If she makes a mistake, she can’t erase it: "Not being able to rub out mistakes just makes it more thrilling, and it relaxes you in a way, because you actually can’t do anything if the line fucks up."

Kelly Anna, source: Instagram profile of the artist

Her artistic journey is strongly intertwined with the silhouettes of female bodies engaged in sports. Even as a child, she noticed that sports posters and memorabilia more often featured male athletes. "I saw these strong male figures, but I wondered: where are the women?"

Kelly Anna recognized this gap, which influenced her creative direction. Her style is characterized by black female bodies and vibrant compositions that exude creativity, intensity, and courage. "My father is an artist himself and always encouraged me not to be afraid of contrasting colors. I'm glad he did. Cubism has always been a starting point for me, and I think much of my work is influenced by this movement." Her artistic inspirations also include Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger. She draws a lot from Olympic motifs as well as Mexican and Greek art.

Kelly Anna, source: artist's website

"Depicting movement has always been an important part of my artistic process." In fact, Kelly Anna started out as a dancer. Her entire family was involved in Latin American dancing, and her father taught her how to capture this movement from an early age. "I used to go to dance competitions where I would draw the dancers and observe them as they moved across the floor." After leaving the fashion industry, she started going back to gyms and watching people work out. "I liked the idea of working with movement directly."

She often talks about the pressure we face regarding body ideals. This was one of the reasons she collaborated with the organization Women in Sport, which supports young girls in sports. "When I was in school, many girls quit sports around the age of twelve or thirteen because they didn't feel comfortable. Back then, we didn't have the same role models as we do today."

Kelly Anna, Travel The Beautiful Game, source: artist's website

Another project through which she highlighted female athletes was the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. She created both an artistic piece celebrating women in football and a sticker pack for the London City Lionesses women's football team. The perception of women's football in the United Kingdom has fundamentally changed in recent years, influenced by both the team's football achievements and fan platforms. "Stand proud, support fully, and watch football like you've never seen before," was one of the campaign slogans for the championship, which also involved other British football stars like David Beckham. Kelly Anna's artistic work depicted two players supported by others. The piece is titled She Shoots, We Score, emphasizing that when one player scores, we all win. "I wanted to show how supportive the community is in women's football."

Kelly Anna, England Football, source: author's official website

People don't automatically associate football with art. However, as Kelly Anna says, 'I think art allows storytelling. And football has a lot to say – there are so many intense connections between players and fans in football. And in sport and football, there is a lot of art – from the architecture of stadiums to football jerseys, banners, and football itself. There's so much design put into it. And that's why I love it.'

 

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Published 09.07.2024

Dominika je studentkou antropologie na Univerzitě Karlově. Pochází z rodiny novinářů, takže k rozhovorům to neměla nikdy daleko. Vyrůstala uprostřed neustálého cestování po Evropě, které v ní probudilo lásku k poznávání různorodých kultur a navazování nových vztahů. Je vášnivou cestovatelkou a ráda objevuje nové obzory. Svojí každodennost ráda naplňuje prostými radostmi života, jako je šálek čerstvé kávy nebo melodie její oblíbené písně.

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