Kelly Burkhardt Brings "Atomic Age" To Philly

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Kelly Burkhardt Brings "Atomic Age" To Philly

Filmmaker Kelly A. Burkhardt (Regrets, Tremble & Spark) announces her first solo art show Atomic Age” at Ven & Vaida Gallery. Consisting of large photographic prints and an instillation featuring portrait of toys, “Atomic Age” delves the world we live in by cultivating past and present experiences into a lively, visual, social commentary.

Part street photography, part stylized imagery, curator Butch Cordora describes Burkhardt’s photography as “David LaChapelle where it’s vibrant, full of color and life.” Her collection of work was snapped in various cities around the world like New York, London, Berlin, and South Philly with a distinct retrospective focus. Examples of various expressions include the American flag behind a fence like a caged animal, an insiders’ look of an active speakeasy, two lovers quarreling over a bottle of booze and a battle of Godzilla vs. Mecca Godzilla.

Kelly has been a staple in the Philadelphia arts community for more than a decade now as Programmer for Philadelphia Qfest, Organizer for the 2nd Annual Phreak N Queer Arts Festival, award-winning filmmaker, LGBT community leader and member of the Midwives Collective & Gallery. Her creative passion drives her on a daily basis as Vice President of Operations for the global independent film distribution company TLA Releasing.

"Atomic Age" runs from May 4th – May 30th at Ven & Vaida Gallery, 18 S. 3rd St. Phila, PA 19106. Opening night reception is Friday, May 4th from 6pm - 9pm.

Last night I was able to talk with Kelly, who I'm lucky enough to call a friend, about her upcoming solo exhibit. 

Hey Kelly Burkhardt! How's it going?

Hey! Life is a bit crazed right now, you know. It's springtime. We are in the thick of programming for Philadelphia Qfest, getting my final pieces ready for my show, reading lots of scripts... oh and then there's what I do to actually pay the bills. I am the VP of Operations for TLA Releasing.

Tell us a little bit about "Atomic Age" — what's the impetus for the show, and why the title?

It was tough coming up with a title actually. I kicked around a lot of ideas and nothing stuck. The show is really like a collection of my work from the last 10 years so it embodies different styles like street photography and portraits. So I came up with "Atomic Age" when I looked at everything together because there is a common retro feel with a similar tone of clean ,simple lines. And I have always been draw to the Cold War and all of the propaganda that came out of that time so I felt that "Atomic Age" was the right fit.

How did you decide which images to use? was there a thematic focus to your work?

Actually the show was curated by Butch Cordora who is the new curator for Ven & Vaida Art & Jewelry in Philadelphia. We've known each other for years and he and I have worked together on many projects together. I brought like 200 images to him and he went through and picked it all.

You're a filmmaker at heart, so what was it like exploring this creative form of making art?

To me, it's the challenge to tell a story in a single frame.

How do you approach filmmaking and photography differently?

Oh gosh, how much time do you have? I guess it can all be boiled down for me that photography is more of an organic process. In filmmaking there is so much preparation, then you actually shoot the film and then post production to finish the film. During the whole process, the film can be completely different than what you thought it was from the beginning. Sure when you set up a photo shoot and snap the picture, there are some changes that can be made on the back end, but all in all it's still your original vision.

What's next on your agenda? What about the upcoming film festivals?

Ah, the festival. Yep, we are working hard on that with feverishly watching films and working on some special guests - which i can't tell you about yet! And I will be curating the visual arts section for a kickass arts festival in Philly called  Phreak N Queer. It's in it's 2nd year this year. There will be a call for submissions.

Any final comments for our readers?

I don't think I have anymore!

Cool, thanks Kel!

Thanks so much Marcie!


For more on Kelly's show, see the Facebook event site.