Artist Meet And Greet: Kelly Jacobi And Michael McPheeters

Kelli-Jacobi-1by Erica Guajardo

Motivation tends to come from an experience that you are effected by. Not all experiences are great, but sometimes the results are life changing. I recently had the pleasure of meeting two artists that are making movements in the Dallas Metroplex. Kelly Jacobi and Michael McPheeters, these two artists are changing who gets involved with the local emerging art movement.

Kelly Jacobi is an artist who has been practicing art her whole life. With a background in graphic design, illustration, photography, and painting, there is no project that this young artist cannot tackle. About six months ago I walked into my local coffee shop to come across these eerie grim dark pieces hanging from the wall. These are things that an average person would not paint. One thing as an artist you learn is that creating comes from experience; there is always a tale to tell, you just need to learn how to illustrate it. Intrigued by these dark art pieces I contacted her to know more about the statement that she was trying to convey. Little did I know I would find a world of mystery, sorrow, and courage.

NymphIn a past article I have said that the hardest part of being an artist is to open up to the public. When I found out that Ms. Jacobi was illustrating from the loss of her mother’s fight from cancer, it touched my heart. Cancer is a subject that can relate to most. This is why, when I attend her shows, I notice people swarming to her work with a connection in their eyes, as if they are looking at a moment in their life. Paying attention to the opaque quality of the ink renderings that she illustrates from allows the viewer to get entrapped in the moment of their life journey

While speaking with her, I asked how it feel to be so open with your loss and she explained her process of grief and how she feels, “a lot of people make art to escape, but [my] art is a tool to cope with the difficult parts of life.”

This strategy is a great concept of thinking, because she is touching on the idea of art therapy. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages self-expression through artistic mediums. When using this medium, studies have shown improvements in lifestyles. This makes Jacobi an advocate to help change the way we use art. This can be a very sensitive subject for some, but Ms. Jacobi, someone who always has a smile on her face, understands that she is creating art which connects with others and allows them to remember someone special to them.

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One thing that Kelly and Michael McPheeters have in common is advocacy. McPheeters is the founder of Handle With Care Project, a non-profit organization that takes a stand against injustice. Focusing on children that are stuck in a world of trafficking, McPheeters merges artwork with a mission. Although he has a personal style of street art, he creates images which call the attention of his mission. Educating individuals on the struggles of human trafficking and how they affect us all.

McPheeters was originally inspired by a trip that he took to Reynosa, Mexico. Participating on a project that helped build homes for under privilege families, he learned about the other struggles that these individuals faced. During his journey, he met a young girl who had been affected by prostitution. At that moment he understood that this problem was occurring to those that could not help themselves. Through creation of his art, and the willing participates of other artists, he helps raise money to stop human trafficking, internet pornography, and child abuse. With the money he will help these affected children find ways of therapy, wether it be through art therapy or other means.

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Inspiration comes from the darkest places sometimes, but with the education and courage of others, we learn that we can start to sustain a more promising future. By staying active in your art community you are helping others around you become more productive. Lets live by the same quote that McPheeters encourages, “Milk and Naps are for babies!” This will help us understand that we all can work a little harder to create a more powerful stance against what we believe in, and make small changes around us. This will inspire larger changes to emerge.

If you are an artist who would like to be considered for CraveDFW local artist meet and greet. Let us know how you inspire others. Please contact


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Filed under Artist Meet and Greet, Arts, Erica Guajardo

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