Tag Archives: Elise Miklich




Bathed in tangerine light, I sit across from Rochester, NY based artist Kelly Clancy. Her light brown hair falls to the left- opposite of her mirror image twin sister, whose hair naturally parts on the right. Tousled pieces gently rest on her shoulder, catching on the flannel fibers of her button down shirt. A ceramic coffee mug is cradled in the hammock of her woven fingertips. The cup’s shape fits so perfectly with the contour of her grasp, you can almost picture it unfinished on the wheel.

“I love making pottery,” she tells me, “but I enjoy carving because of the amount of commitment and concentration that is involved.”

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy

Kelly is a relief linoleum printmaker who can easily be compared to an Olympic athlete; putting the highest level of commitment into everything that she does. Not for recognition or for glory, but because she cares about the quality of her work like she cares about the quality of her life. To her, they are one in the same. For those of you who are unfamiliar with printmaking, relief printmaking is when the raised or protruding part of, in this case, linoleum, is inked while the recessed areas (i.e. the carved areas) are not inked, and will show up as white space on the print. Sheets of linoleum are hand carved, inked and then printed using a high-pressure press. Clancy described it to me in layman’s terms like “making a giant rubber stamp”.

“When I’m painting, I can paint over it. When I’m working on the wheel, I can squash it and start over,” she says with a confidence that feels unrehearsed. “If I carve a line incorrectly, I need to come up with a solution.”

When she sent her most recent piece to be displayed in North Dakota at Minot University, she made over forty prints before she had one she was satisfied with. Print making is notoriously tedious, every line must be carved properly and with intention. Pressure to this degree might turn some off, while Clancy feeds off of it, harnessing it to push herself further. In high school, she focused on painting and drawing. The first artwork she ever sold was a commissioned portrait of a family friend’s children.

“I started with painting because I was comfortable with it,” she explains, “but I think the second you stop putting yourself in uncomfortable situations creatively, you’re no longer being an artist”.

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy

It’s safe to say she’s still an artist. Now, she puts her efforts into making linoleum prints that focus on the human form, expressing both her concern and fascination with the fate of the human body. Surprisingly, Clancy admits she had a hard time considering herself a true print maker until October of 2013, when she was accepted into the Boston Print Makers Biennial. Sighting this as one of her biggest accomplishments, it was only natural to hear her say that her next long-term goal is to be on the judging panel one day. But before her works make it to the gallery, it all starts with a feeling. That feeling then becomes a concept, which will then become a sketch- or numerous sketches.

“It’s always a challenge to see how many ways I can communicate an idea visually” she tells me.

When I think about the fate of the human body, I think of death and dying. When Clancy thinks about the fate of the human body, she thinks of cyborgs. No, not the kind portrayed in sci-fi flicks or Marvel fan-fiction, the kind that start with you and I – that will start with our children and their children, too.

“I grew up with technology,” Clancy insists, “I’m not afraid of it, but it’s definitely scary thinking about where it could go.”

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy and her work

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy and her work

Many of her current works beg the question: What makes a person and what will the definition of a person become? Clancy uses metaphysical concepts that are relevant to everyone, not just her. In fact, she wants you to be able to see yourself in her work. More often than not, her figures are faceless or portrayed as skeletons. Gears grind inside of skulls, wires clench tightly around wrists, holding down bodies or tangling them in a web of artificial intelligence. It makes you think; those bodies may be ours someday.

“I refer a lot to singularity, or when robots and humans become one” She explains, harping on the concept of downloadable consciousness. No one is blowing smoke on the topic. Recent research conducted by Henry Markram has led scientists to claim that an artificial brain could be constructed in as little as ten years. To put this timeline into perspective, this research was conducted in 2009, proving Clancy’s work to be relevant- and profoundly so.

When she isn’t carving at home or making prints at the Nazareth College studio, she’s teaching art to grades pre K – 6th at Aquinas Institute of Rochester. It is important to her to pass on the power of art and to demonstrate how art encourages youth to “stretch and explore”. Professionally, she says she will continuously advocate for art programs and wants her students work to be seen out in the community. When asked what she would tell herself if she were her student’s age, she responded, “It’s not a waste of time to pursue a career as an artist. Behind everything in life, there is an artist.”

Kelly Clancy’s work can be seen at:

Americas: 2016 Paperworks, Minot University, January 12th-February 19th 2016

Nazareth Graduate Art Show, Nazareth College, March 29th-April 17th 2016

Visit her website at Kclancy3.wix.com/artteacher

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy




On a hot day in late July I climbed the stairs of 34 Elton Street. Located just off of University Avenue in Rochester New York’s Neighborhood of the Arts, Makers Gallery and Studio sits on the top floor. It was one of those days where the sweat seems to roll off your back a bit slower.

Photography by John Schlia - Edward Zachary Graham, Alexander Gruttadaro and Anni Gruttadaro

Photography by John Schlia – Edward Zachary Graham, Alexander Gruttadaro and Anni Gruttadaro

When I reached the third floor landing, I was greeted with a smile that gently peeked through an ash-blonde beard. Within moments, I learned this smile to belong to Alex Gruttadaro, co-owner of Makers Studio and Gallery. Alex and his wife, Anni Gruttadaro, met in the art department at the University of Brockport. Together, their energy is quietly electrifying, putting the room at ease while simultaneously radiating rays of excitement. Edward Zachary Graham, who is taking the lead on the café portion of the gallery, has known Alex for over 20 years. He is charismatic, charming, and our conversation is wrapped in his genuine care for the Rochester creative community.

“Artists are the only people I know that do things for the sake of doing them,” Graham tells me, “you never know what’s going to happen when you get people like that together.”

Photography by John Schlia - Makers Gallery and Studio

Photography by John Schlia – Makers Gallery and Studio

Collaboration is at the heart of Makers Gallery and Studio. Their mission strongly expresses their desire to bring as many ideas to the table as possible- it’s a long table, and everyone is invited to sit down. Alex particularly envisions the space to be a place where people of all backgrounds can go to create, learn and collaborate with each other.

Photography by John Schlia - "Talavera" by Sari Gaby and "The Outlaw" by Chad Cleveland

Photography by John Schlia – “Talavera” by Sari Gaby and “The Outlaw” by Chad Cleveland

“It’s a comfortable place to talk about and to create art,” Alex explains. “Most coffee shops happen to have art, and Makers is first and foremost a gallery that happens to have great coffee in it.”

In the middle of winter, Rochester will be relieved to learn that Makers is a café, too.

Although it wasn’t always easy, Makers Gallery and Studio itself just kind of ‘happened’. A combination of hard work and a few twists of fate, the trio established ground at the Elton Street building after another location they had their eyes on fell through. Heavily guided by intuition, decisions had to be made swiftly. In less than twenty-five days, the group bought, renovated and prepared the space for Makers’ first opening. The show, which purposefully featured works in their unfinished form, drew a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd.

“Showing that process for the first show was a big part of connecting with people that don’t know about or buy art,” Zach explains, peaking his head out from behind the blooming orchid that sits between us, “there’s something more organic about it”.

If you missed the opening this year, don’t fret. The gallery is planning a show based on the same concept again in the future. In fact, there are plans in the works to create many annual shows at the space- starting with a Valentine’s Day show this year that will feature works by artists who are also couples.

Photography by John Schlia - "By The Hand of Man" by Bob Geroux.

Photography by John Schlia – “By The Hand of Man” by Bob Geroux.

To Alex, Anni and Zach, communication and connection is more than just a theme. On top of showing local artists work, the gallery will be used as a classroom, a place to socialize and space to discover. The concept draws back to the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, where salons- places of education through conversation- were abundant. Much like these salons, the space where Makers Gallery and Studio sits is open to all and emphasizes education through conversation- and it’s an accessible education, too. The studio is walkable from many of Rochester’s high schools, including School of the Arts. In the future, the group hopes to find their space filled with teens, young adults and people of all ages conversing long into the evening.

“Talking an idea through with Anni or Zach transforms it,” Alex tells me, “it focuses it more. Talking about art is inspirational in itself; you start with the little seed of an idea and bring that idea to someone else…” his thought trails off as Zach jumps in,

“Everything we are working on and have worked on, we thought of together,” Zach says referring to the gallery as a whole.

This attitude carries over to their view of other galleries in the area. There is an overwhelming sense of camaraderie when we touch on how Makers will differentiate themselves from other similar spaces in the area. But even stronger than camaraderie, there is an enormous amount of pride for the city of Rochester that hangs on every word spoken.

“Our city has an incredible gallery scene,” Alex says, “Rochester is taking the gallery to the streets and the streets to the galleries. We are putting art out in people’s faces.”

As for what they think about Rochester holding the title of an up-and-coming city, Zach says what we have all been thinking: “Our art scene is badass. I wouldn’t even classify it as up and coming, it’s there.”


To learn more about Makers Gallery and Studio, the Café, the classes and more, contact Makersgalleryandstudio@gmail.com or visit them on the web at www.makersgalleryandstudio.com

Cafe and Gallery Open 8am-8pm 7 Days a week

New Works by Nate Hodge
December 12, 2015 – January 15, 2016
Opening Reception  – December 12, 2015 5pm-10pm

Live Painting December 4, 2015 8pm-Late