An Interview


Betsy Kellas

by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Arts of Point Richmond Newsletter

February, 2020

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What medium(s) are your favorite to work in?

I was trained as a printmaker and still work in that medium. I also paint and am currently collaborating with the installation artist Penelope Anstruther on ceramic sculptures.

What were your early influences and who are your current ones?

In the 1960’s, when I was in high school, I had an opportunity to see a retrospective of the work of Kurt Schwitters, the German Dadaist. That exhibition hit me like a “SNAP-OUT-OF-IT” slap in the face, and opened me to an entirely new and expansive understanding of art. Until then I thought visual art had to be representational and based on drawing – a skill I was developing, but never particularly enjoyed. Schwitters’ beautifully composed collages, often made with odd bits of detritus, introduced me to the power of non-representational imagery and the limitless media available for visual expression. My current influences include Pierrette Bloch, Alburto Burri, Antonio Tapies, Cy Twombly, Sigmar Polke, Leonardo Drew…the list goes on and on.


What are you drawn to in other artists’ work?

Truth, beauty, and craft. When those come together…WOW.  You see it and feel it immediately. It’s precognitive. It pitches you out of yourself.


Published writers have to spend an increasing amount of time promoting their work. Is that true for you as a visual artist?

Creating a public/media presence is absurdly time consuming. It requires a great deal of research as well as time spent responding to calls and approaching galleries, institutions, and collectors. Just keeping my website current is daunting, and don’t get me started about social media. And all that has to be done when I’m not working. My studio practice has to come first.


What feeds your creative process? Who or what is your muse?

Inspiration comes from everywhere, but the muse only shows up when I work. If I'm not working I just make a bunch of good ideas. When I work, I make art.

Lily Iona MacKenzie is the author of Curva Peligrosa, Fling!, Freefall: A Divine Comedy, and

All This. Learn more about Lily at