Guillermo H Kelly self portrait
Guillermo H. Kelly, a native of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, has an extensive background in art. He began drawing at the age of six and a year later received his first set of oils and painting lessons from a neighborhood artist who took an interest in young Guillermo's artistic abilities. By age eleven Guillermo had won an art school scholarship to the renown Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (I.N.B.A.) in Mazatlán, from which he graduated in 1978. Since then he has made his living teaching, through commercial art, and working as a fine artist, winning many awards at both the state and national level, including first place in the national competition, Carteles Alucivos a la Contaminación Ambiéntal in 1973.
During Guillermo's youth Mazatlán was a port town bordered by jungle and often in the path of hurricances. Guillermo grew up on a ranch amid cows, horses, dogs, cats, snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. The sea, the landscape and the surrounding animal life, such important features of his childhood, would later find their way into his artwork. Guillermo’s family included many musicians. As a youngster he was a keen observer of the traditional costumes and body paint used by the Matachines, groups of indigenous dancers that included his mother. Guillermo’s artistic sensibilities were also greatly influenced by the music he heard played within his family circle and on the streets of Mazatlán, by the sounds of his environment and by the huge carnival culture of Mazatlán. The art school that Guillermo attended was located across the street from the Patronato de Carnaval de Mazatlán, the headquarters where the carnival festivities were prepared. He was able to watch the construction of carnival floats, attend the auditions of dancers and musicians, and was fascinated by the elaborate, surreal costumes that were a large part of the festivities.
Guillermo Kelly’s fine art work includes landscapes, portraits and abstract works in watercolor, oil, acrylic and pastels, as well as murals such as those in the Capilla La Milagrosa in Mazatlán, Mexico and in historic St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Stockton, CA. He has also worked in mosaic and sculpture and has commissions in private collections, churches and public sites. He is currently involved in a proposal to create a large, sculptural mural on the cliffs of Mazatlán, a project that will also involve a major redesign of areas of the Mazatlán waterfront.
Over the years, Guillermo has been involved in community art in both Mexico and the United States. From 1984-1989 Guillermo worked with Los Pargo’s Community Group in Mazatlán teaching disabled children art as occupational therapy and he taught art at the National Institute of Fine Arts / Angela Peralta School. In 2010, as a volunteer at Armoas School, he directed a group of elementary school children in the construction of a 4-by-17 foot tile mural depicting the history of their small California town.
In collaboration with nine other artists, in 2019 Guillermo was involved in the creation of a 240 square foot mural entitled “You are Home / Siéntase en Casa” that was installed in the main lobby of the Canal Alliance’s office space in San Rafael, CA. That same year he worked with another painter and two Italian mosaic artists to create an unusual mixed-media mural for the Canal Alliance entitled “Empowered through Education.” The mural references the life of Dr. Ramon Resa, a California Central Valley pediatrician who overcame daunting obstacles through the power of education.
Guillermo also has much experience in commercial decoration, including architectural and interior design. He worked with the architect Hector Diaz for seven years on large projects for the Mexican government. Guillermo also designed the murals and decorative finishes of the Plaza Maya, a large upscale department store in the heart of Mazatlán’s tourist zone, as well as murals in Mazatlán's Hotel Las Flores and Hotel Costa de Oro. Guillermo’s murals can also been seen in Tijuana, Guadalajara, La Paz, Mexico and in Oakland, Richmond, Hayward, Antioch, San Jose and San Rafael in California.