from Mississippi to New York: illustrator Kelly Lasserre

Illustrator Kelly Lasserre is featured in Work/Life 3, a directory of illustration published by UPPERCASE. Here is an excerpt from Kelly's profile. 

Kelly seeing herself in  Work/Life 3

Kelly seeing herself in Work/Life 3

I am originally from Mississippi. The majority of my family still lives there and I have spent all my summers in the South being exposed to its amazing, strange and beautiful environment. The people, culture and physical landscape is endlessly inspiring. I definitely have a romantic feeling about it, maybe because I’ve been back and forth and am able to see it differently than if I had never left.

I’ve spent most of my life, including my school years, on the south shore of Massachusetts in a small Irish fishing town, very different from Mississippi, but dreamy in its own way. I feel fortunate that I grew up appreciating and learning from two opposite parts of the United States. It makes me feel very balanced in a way.

It became clear to me early in my teenage years that I had a real desire to make things and to communicate visually—it just made each day simpler. At some point I realized it was more than an angsty teenage need to express myself, so I really pushed my interest and had a lot of support from some great teachers. I went to art school in Baltimore, at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where I graduated with a BFA in illustration in 2008.

My style has been extremely pared down over the years into something I feel comfortable with, which is very simple, intentional, concise. I have reduced it down to the bare essential of what it is I am trying to visually discuss or record in my personal work. I used to be more self-conscious about my style because it didn't have this traditional approach to telling stories that fit into the illustration work I was being exposed to. But I eventually just let myself do what came naturally, which happens to be very direct and to the point.


Currently I am living and working in New York City. It’s not the easiest place to live, but it is very stimulating, frustrating, endlessly entertaining and inspiring. You have to be quite crafty to make it work. I just moved to Queens a few weeks ago so I could afford to live in this crazy city but also have enough space to work and breathe a bit. And I have my own studio, which is key.

Work/Life 3 is a directory of talent showcasing illustrators around the world. Artists are individually interviewed about their creative focus and artistic technique as well as their inspirations and aspirations. Beautiful images of sketchbook pages, studio shots, inspirational objects or personally illustrated anecdotes are shown on each participant's spread, letting the reader catch a glimpse of the artist's work/life. 

Click here to get your copy of Work/Life 3.