Mextures Artist Feature | @mrmenellis

The last Mextures artist feature article posted a day late, so I’ve decided to up my game and get this one to you a day early. Surprise! (hahaha) Today I’m going to introduce you to Kelly (@mrmenellis) from Instagram and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know him as much as I did. Kelly’s gallery is filled with all sorts of natural beauty and Mextures wonder, from macro to landscapes to emotive edits, and even the architecture/street shot here or there. I think that’s one of my favorite things about these articles – as Kelly and I talked a bit about in our chat, the Instagram rules tell us that we’re better off to stick to one particular style and subject but I find it extremely interesting that almost none of you guys do that – and, of course, neither do I! We’re clearly all from the same tribe. On to the article, now, and please don’t forget to show Kelly your support on Instagram! Enjoy!


Getting to know @mrmenellis

Hi there! Let’s just get right into it! You’re @mrmenellis on Instagram, but who is @mrmenellis? Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, my real name is Kelly. I am a 43 year old graphic design/web developer, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I moved to New Zealand thirteen years ago.

Ahhh. Travel. I dream of traveling but I”m terrified of flying. Hahaha! That’s really interesting – was it your work that took you to New Zealand?

Actually, work was not what brought me here. I was hoping to come here and find a new job. In reality I ended up just becoming a contractor for my current employer and just tele-commuted. We had planned on spending a couple of years here and then travel the world, but NZ was so beautiful we fell in love and stop one became the final destination. I also have a fear of flying, so the fourteen hour flights here are a little stressful.

But, you’ve survived your flights! That gives me hope. New Zealand is definitely beautiful. I don’t know if I’d be able to leave either – although I’ve only seen it in images and yours are definitely incredible. So what was it that got you involved on Instagram?

I joined Instagram over five years ago when it was just a fledgling little app that had some talk of being a great concept. I just downloaded it to check it out, and spent a year with it off and on enjoying the sharing aspect of it. But, not having an iPhone at the time, it was just a minor hobby. That all changed when I got my iPhone and I started posting at least once a day. From there I just fell in love with most aspects of it.

Same here – being obsessed with art and photography, I was always downloading every art community app that came around. In fact, that’s the main reason I got an iPhone to begin with – art and photography. Instagram has been the most community-oriented and the one that I’ve stuck with. I love it. That’s how I discovered Mextures. How did you discover Mextures?

I have been on most social art apps as well, most of which have long disappeared. But nothing touches the IG community! As for Mextures, I discovered it through other artists on Instagram, as I was always looking for inspiration and something to push my art in a new direction. This was back when Merek Davis was just letting people use his beautiful textures as light leaks. You had to layer it all up old school in an app like Photoforge. So when he released the app, I bought it the day it was released!

Merek Davis is a hero in my world. I discovered his original textures when I was still using Photoshop on my computer, and when he released the app I was doing a major happy dance. I didn’t know the app had been released until a couple of months after the fact because I was off and on IG, but through a couple of IG artists I saw the tag and then realized it was the same as I’d been using on the computer. Hahaha! I think, in general, art is therapy for me and I suppose that’s why it’s such a constant in my life – and Mextures has seriously played a sort of “therapist” role in my life in the last year or so. People often come and go on IG, I suppose, but now I just can’t stay away from it. What is it that keeps you active and involved on Instagram? Community, art, all of the above? It’s hard NOT to be inspired there, in my opinion.

It truly is difficult not to be inspired by it all. The community and inspiration of others is probably what keeps me coming back most of all. I don’t know how many times I have seen an image and just been truly inspired to go and create something and share it. I have made so many great friends; friends whose encouragement and support are beyond words. To be honest, without that support I would have difficulty posting some of what I do.

Absolutely. There have been a couple of really big life changing events happen for me since I’ve been really active on Instagram. One of those things was the death of my father. Without the inspiration and the support of the community on Instagram, I don’t know what I would have done during those times. It’s funny because a lot of people in “real life” put down how open and personal I often am on Instagram and my personal blog, but it’s because – unlike the judgmental, stressful “support” of “real life” people – the community on Instagram tends to be more open and inspiring. They embrace me – through my art and as a human being, and they teach me so much. Maybe it’s because of the art, the mutual understanding of being a “deep, artistic person…” Many of us are that in this community. It’s not always about the art, though. There are many other aspects, as you have said. But, back to the art, what is your background in photography?

I am just an amateur enthusiast, really. I have always had a love for taking pictures and creating, going back to my early teens. I have played with all sorts of analog equipment from 35mm to medium format to expired Polaroids. But I ALWAYS had a fear of clicking the shutter. I just lacked the confidence in what I was doing. But digital changed all that. I shoot whatever, when and however I want at zero added expense. This just set me artistically free.

I remember those film days. My first camera was a Polaroid and my first “real” camera – where you had the ability to adjust settings and so on – was a 35mm Canon SLR. I was the same way as you – TERRIFIED to actually shoot. Film wasn’t cheap (and at the time, I wasn’t buying – my parents were), and then after you used up the film you had to develop the film. It was interesting for me because my mom knew how to do all of that sort of thing and so sometimes she’d get together with me and we’d work film…but mostly, it was sent off. Either way, it wasn’t cheap. So, I completely understand the being “set free” point of view of digital photography.

And that kind of answers the next question I was going to ask – what’s changed about your photography/practice over time… Instead, I’ll ask…what do you enjoy most about your art and photography? What themes do you pursue?

I just enjoy capturing moments of time and light. I am always of two minds: one is to hunt and find the perfect light to capture just the way it is and do not manipulate it; the other is just shoot whatever and create what I want. Couple that with the fact that I hate pigeon holing myself, I end up with images of everything and anything.

For themes, I seem to focus a lot on macro and florals. Mainly because flowers don’t complain that I am taking yet ANOTHER photo of them, I think. Hahaha. Macro photography has always amazed me, so I build my own lenses and use those. I also love portraiture, though there is not much in my feed for various reasons. But it’s something I wish I could do more of.

Yes – I love photographing nature, and macro is my absolute favorite. It’s my “thing.” The fact that you build your own lenses is fascinating! That’s a whole other conversation, but I’d love to hear more about that in the future!

Yeah, I shoot through pretty much anything. I put things in front of my phone just because I can.

Hahaha! That is just awesome. No rules! I find that I’m always breaking one rule, though, more than any others – the one that you read in so many blogs and “courses” about how your Instagram feed should, for all intents and purposes, stick to a particular theme. I can’t do it. I tend to stick to nature as a general theme, but there’s too much nature to pick from and I love it all! I can’t pigeon hole myself – I’ve tried. There’s just too much inspiration and too much I want to try. What is it that inspires you the most? I find it’s hard to pick one thing, personally, but I always love asking this question.

I have too many tastes to stick to one theme. I agree. Inspiration comes in so many forms for me but music is a huge factor – that is almost always an instigator. Books or quotes are also quite high on the list. But one of my greatest inspirations is my little girl. Just seeing her love for life and the way she sees things inspires me in so many ways.

It’s so interesting to me how much I find that I have in common with everyone that I interview. I am a HUGE music fan, and I find myself blending images with words and quotes so often. Sometimes, I will look for a quote based on whatever an image has brought to mind and end up writing a whole, long blog instead. Haha! But my biggest inspiration, like yours, is definitely my child.

So, you’ve said that you’re mostly a hobbyist when it comes to photography, but do you have any dream or goals with your art professionally? Do you have any sort of dream project?

A dream project. Hmmm… I have been lucky and had some images published and used commercially so I can check that off the list. A dream project would probably be to have some of my works printed, mounted and displayed in a gallery showing. I think that would be my ultimate dream goal.

Wow – published! Although, I’m not surprised! What it takes to get your work into a gallery or showing is networking. I learned that last year.

The publishing was just lucky, really. Right place, right time, much like a gallery. All in people you know.

Isn’t it funny how so much of life works that way? Ok, last arty question – what couldn’t you do without regarding your art and photography, besides your camera(s)?

Ha! As simple as it is, my lens cloth. Having had a small child with sticky fingers grabbing at whatever I seem to have in my hand, it seemed to be an essential item. I usually have two with me at all times.

I LOVE that answer! It’s funny to me and makes me laugh because since becoming a parent, that is one of the things I am VERY aware of. He always wants to play with my camera and my phone, and I always want to encourage him in that way when he wants to take pictures, so like you I ALWAYS have a cloth and I also always keep a little small pen-sized tube of lens cleaner spray in my bag for tough jobs. Hahaha!!!

It’s just the truth! Hahaha! I wish it was a classier answer but tis the life of a parent.

It sure is. I wouldn’t have it any other way, personally. I have really enjoyed chatting with you, Kelly. One last question – my favorite one:  if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Oh, just one!? Well, that is tough. Probably the ability to heal myself and others, or the ability to time travel. I love the concept of both.

I think, if one had the ability to heal themselves/others, then they would automatically have the ability to time travel because they’d need to be able to reach people at any moment in time. Yay! Hahaha!

HA! I like how you worked that. Perfect!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and for being involved in this adventure on the blog. I wish you all the best in the future – both with your art and in life. 

Thank you for the interview. It’s been a huge pleasure and honor, and I’ve been enjoying reading your blog and IG pages. It’s been wonderful to “meet” you!

Thanks so much for your kindness and support! It’s been a pleasure getting to “meet”/know you! Have a very nice day, Kelly!

Same! Have a lovely evening!


Sampling of Kelly’s Mextures Formulas

Wet Valleys – YGVJLNI
Moist Petals – EXBNIHX
All of My Tears – LSJGDIT
Wildlings – LDNGYAE
Ewe and Me – PPXRETQ
The Glorious Dead – IIYBJXG


Art from the Instagram Gallery of @mrmenellis

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