Fat babe

2018-07-23 Split twee fotos.jpg

Here’s two photos of me jumping into the air after cooling off at the waterside with two of my dearest friends. The weather has been extremely warm here in the Netherlands; about 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. It’s not what we’re used to here and afterwards I posted these photos on my Instagram with a note: “Just before this day ends I want to add words and these two darling photos of me. I am so happy with the dear people that I have around me. ♡ I can totally be myself with you; with my head that is sometimes consumed with dark thoughts and traumas from the past and with my body that sometimes hurts and changes its appearance over time. Today I felt no pain but only holiday vibes with you. Thank you, you know who you are ♡”

I received some replies about the usage of the hashtag #fatbabe and #bodypositivity. I also used the hashtags #fibromyalgia and #redhead but no-one is bothered when I use those. There are people who really don’t like the word FAT. A guy commented I wasn’t fat but curvy, I guess he knows better than my doctor right? I am Class II obese and I have plenty of fat. Someone else stated that if I was to post something about body positivity then it shouldn’t just be about fat. Well, to me body positivity is all about feeling peace with your body and your being. Embracing yourself as you are and if someone wants to change something about themselves, they should feel free to do so for whatever reason. If someone wants to stay just as they are that is cool too. It is their body, their rules and it’s nobody else’s business. Body positivity is all inclusive; it is here for all genders and non gender folks of all ages. It is for the thin, fat, black, white, mentally ill, handicapped, strong, weak, tall and small people; it’s for everybody! So I happen to have fat, I suffer from fibromyalgia and I have red hair. Therefore these are the things I draw, write and sing about. I have come such a long way, through child abuse, neglect and negative brainwashing in my teens and I just speak about what I know, me, nothing more and nothing less.

Social media is a bit like everyone has their own little garden. Anybody can have a peek in the gardens and they can like and even comment on the contents of each garden. So I have roses in my garden but I find them so cool that I gave them a new name: fat babes. Someone walking past my garden will see the nice roses and then maybe frown when reading the new name tag I added. “That is not the original name! It shouldn’t be called fat because roses aren’t fat, roses are beautiful! And it shouldn’t be called babes because they are flowers! Etc…” Well… remember, it is my garden. And I can do anything I choose to in my garden. Feel free to look at it, smell the flowers or feel free to lift your nose up in disgust and walk on by. Do all that. You don’t have to visit my garden if you don’t like it. And also, you don’t have to piss on my garden just because you dislike it. So my social media pages and websites are open to anybody who is interested but I don’t exist in this online realm to facilitate a discussion forum. My online presence did not spring into life just so people could start a rant. In my online space I stand on guard in order for it to remain a positive place for myself and others who visit and who know the direction I’m going with this.

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Everybody is on their own path in life with their own struggles, even if they are invisible, and each and everyone of us deserves respect. I am just me, myself and I; singing, writing, drawing and creating. I share what I create, no matter what: it’s my art. When you visit my pages or website please enjoy and like it and if you don’t enjoy then move along. My flowers with special names cannot flourish when being peed on, they have had enough shit through the years and they can only flourish with positivity and an open heart. ♥ And I have plenty of space for the latter.

Have a bright day!

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Living from a frame of love

2018-06-23 Elly (1)a.jpgHere I am playing a game of checkers I realize more and more that the dating ‘game’ is most likely not for me, even if I’ve tried it a gazillion times in the past and will probably feel the need to try again sometime in the future, right now I am done with it.

There is space in my life for people who have humor and positivity. Who are able to communicate openly about their feelings, who respect my feelings, my boundaries and who enjoy an in depth conversation in which we simply get to know ourselves better, (which to me is the reason why we are alive at all). People who can appreciate when you give them your precious time, energy, attention and tender love and who live and let live without shame or too much prejudice.

To me these things above are so basic. It is so simple. I didn’t pick up these things in my youth, I had to teach myself to try live from this frame of love. Because I deserve that, others deserve this love & respect and it feels good to act according to these values. I will stick to them even if someone is unable to understand my kindness. Even if someone does not seem able to meet me halfway I will still answer with kindness and respect. Because that is what I am: love. And it makes me feel good inside.

I wish you a light day with the sun rays on your face giving little touches of love.

Discography

2018 Mijn gammele cassette2018-05-10 Elly 2 - aangepast kleiner.jpg
2016 Zinken & Zweven
2012 Successfool
2008 Elly Kellner (EP)
2002 Meet you slowly
2001 Keshri – Keshri Transition
2001 Butterflies
2000 Silence no more
1999 Edisni Kool
1998 W.A. Hahaha
1997 Demo Radio Rijnmond
1997 Parasomnias
1997 My tjili
1996 Burn out


1996 – Burn out1996 Elly Kellner - Burn Out Cassette voorkant
 Recorded by Peer v/d Vecht (02-07-1996). Cassette – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar.

Long before the term burn out became so widely used I gave this name to my first ever album. For me it had no apparent connection with the feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion that we would now link to a burn out. It had indeed more to do with the friend who made the first official recordings of my songs, Peer and his love for motorcycles. A burnout, as explained in the unwritten bikers’ dictionary, is the practice of keeping a motorcycle stationary and spinning its rear wheel, causing the tires to heat up and therefore causing smoke from friction. Looking back on it now it may have been that it felt like that was in fact happening to me symbolically; there had once been fire in my youth but I still suffered from the smoke that never died out from it. I did not have a burn out but mentally I did still had a lot of mending to do. We recorded these tracks in Peer’s living room and it was a very positive experience for me.

  1. Big moves moves
  2. Dare
  3. Care of giving
  4. Little thing
  5. My hell
  6. Insane
  7. One seed
  8. IFAS
  9. Slip
  10. Three F
  11. Piece of you and me
  12. Tiny tit
  13. Your own
  14. Sticky Straggler

1997 Elly Kellner - My Tjili Cassette1997 – My tjili

My tjili contains home-recorded songs as well as songs recorded in café de Zet*.  Cassette – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar.

I must have recorded these songs in my own living room on cassette tape. I listened a lot to Tori Amos and Kate Bush in this period and I sometimes modified my singing voice to sound more like theirs. Sometimes, looking back on it now, it was a bit too shrill for my liking. As a a teenager I saw Sinead O’Connor as a great vocal example and learned loud singing and belting by listening to her music and trying to copy it. I can see it’s all part of my musical journey. It took a couple of years before I felt more relaxed singing with my own voice.

  1. Plain
  2. Butter
  3. Carry my way
  4. Blote voeten
  5. Bullshit
  6. Little thing
  7. Burdens & houses
  8. Baf
  9. Write that down*
  10. Three F*
  11. Dare*
  12. Sticky Straggler*
  13. Poepoetan
  14. To daze

1997 Elly Kellner - Parasomnias Cassette1997 – Parasomnias

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Wilfred Landa in the summer of 1997.  Cassette – Design and art direction by Elly Kellner. Photography by John Posthumus. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Percussion. Wilfred Landa: Drums, Percussion.
Fons van Loenhout: Bass on Favourite star.

Wilfred Landa had a multi track recorder and this was the first time I ever recorded with several tracks. We had an absolute blast! Both Wilfred and I put a lot of time and effort into the production of it and I regard it as my first serious album. I was able to put a lot of my thought processes into the songs and was able to work through some emotional subjects whilst creating it; like therapy. In that period I suffered a lot from night terrors and this is where the name Parasomnias came from; dissociated sleep states. I was incredibly proud when it was finished and am still very fond of the songs featured here. The highlight was when we recorded Favourite star in the shed, where the drums were, and outside it started to poor down and thunder loudly; you can still hear it in the recording and I will never forget.

  1. Bloody whore1997 Elly Kellner - Parasomnias Cassette Teksten
  2. Favourite star
  3. Divided
  4. Tatanka
  5. Oh dear
  6. Graveyard
  7. Not right now ok
  8. Grey dove
  9. Plee ol’piano
  10. Listen to your radio; The bread, Moody wood, Consensus
  11. Go
  12. Monster get to me
  13. My sisters
  14. Being welcome
  15. Cha cha
  16. Dark Chicken clown soup

1997 Elly Kellner - Demo Radio Rijnmond1997 Demo

Live recorded at Radio Rijnmond Studios (30-11-1997). Cassette – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar.

I was invited to perform live at Radio Rijnmond by Anita Luchies and played my latest songs there. I remember it was very late and my mum joined me and drove me there I guess, since I had no drivers license or car. The recordings they made were used to create this demo.

  1. May comes
  2. Vacuum cleaning song
  3. Queen
  4. Child
  5. Words don’t say enough again
  6. Bif on the side

1998 Elly Kellner - WA Hahaha Cassette1998 – W.A. hahaha

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Wilfred Landa. Cassette – Album cover created by Elly Kellner.
Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar, Bass. Wilfred Landa: Didgeridoo.

Wilfred’s track recorder once again played a huge role. It was so awesome to have friends who wanted to help me out, develop more of their own recording skills and in the meantime record my music. This little EP was a feisty little look into how I felt at that point in time.

  1. Throwing plates
  2. Forever is now
  3. Good book
  4. Right
  5. W.A. hahaha

1999 Elly Kellner - Edisni Kool CD voorkant.jpg1999 – Edisni Kool

Home recorded by Elly Kellner in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, except track 1 recorded by Davie Feenstra. CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Sampling.

Track 1 was recorded at Dave Feenstra’s house who had a proper track recorder and we spent a lot of time on this track, I played Davies 12 string guitar and we layered my voice multiple times. We recorded a couple more songs and I was immensly proud of this version of ‘Nice’. I had meant to make a little EP out the recordings but due to a weird turn of events I never did. Hence, I put it on this collection of recordings. Through the years I had started recording myself on cassettetape as the new songs came to me. After some time I acquired a Minidisk player and I was able to digitally record and go back and forth with it, thus creating several tracks on top of each other. It was an easy and cheap way for me to experiment and develop my singing, playing and timing skills. I would sometimes spend a whole day just recording one song.

  1. Nice
  2. Look inside
  3. Experiment
  4. Glowing
  5. Rational God
  6. Heat
  7. Walking towards you
  8. Why die
  9. It is over
  10. Wildernes
  11. Horses
  12. Woman
  13. Speed isn’t healthy
  14. Noted
  15. Madas
  16. So old to me
  17. Men’s mendacity
  18. Pink fishes
  19. KEV
  20. Sean
  21. Inniebittie Swine
  22. Never trust
  23. It was all too much
  24. Brieche

2000 Elly Kellner - Silence no more CD voorkant2000 – Silence no more

Home recorded by Elly Kellner in 1998, 1999 and 2000. CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner.
Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar, Samples

This was a time when I started playing around with percussion, samples and midi keyboards. I had some samples on an LP and I recorded the sounds into my Minidisk Recorder. Some of my recordings became slightly more experimental and made it that little bit more interesting for me. For the song I am your Coca-cola light I made a beat using an empty can of Coca-cola and stuffed my mouth with cotton wool to create a muffled vocal track. In this period I also broke my wrist and as I got frustrated with not being able to create songs I borrowed a basic keyboard and I soon wrote with that. Examples of that are track 3, 5 and 9. Track 17, Shiny Bottle, was created by my friend Angelo Huige and I added the vocals. Angelo played around with electronic beats and with bands like Massive Attack, Portishead, Moloko as our example we used to spend many hours just making up new things.

  1. Friendly hardworking salesman
  2. It was you, yourself
  3. Greater secret
  4. What else is love for
  5. Unbearable
  6. Care small
  7. Dare to look
  8. Great vacation
  9. Highest rank
  10. How beautiful
  11. I won’t cling
  12. You too feel alone
  13. I am your Coca-cola light
  14. Counter love
  15. I’m gone now
  16. Rivers
  17. Shiny Bottle
  18. My own tone
  19. There won’t be silence no more

2001 Elly Kellner - Butterflies CD voorkant2001 – Butterflies

Recorded by Peer v/d Vecht. CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar.

As I developed my songwriting skills and was able to write more in depth it got more scary to perform in front of others, I had a hurdle to take when it came to that. But at my friend Peer’s house I always felt comfortable to play and I felt like he took my music seriously. It was so nice that I could just record a big bunch of my newest songs there to save them for posterity.

  1. On your marks
  2. Saleh now take it
  3. Almost done the job
  4. Jon Tardif
  5. About everything
  6. Interesting men in the world
  7. Are you the babes
  8. How are you
  9. Your eyes of blithe
  10. Sweet
  11. Some forgot
  12. Detective Protective
  13. Yes if you were free
  14. Hands off
  15. Be my all
  16. A song
  17. Untitled (95, map 3)
  18. Untitled (95, map 3)
  19. Untitled (95, map 3)
  20. One pair of those
  21. Your arrival
  22. What about me
  23. Turning & burning
  24. Part of me
  25. Butterflies

2001 Keshri – Keshri Transition CD voorkant.jpg2001 – Keshri – Keshri Transition

Recorded at CKB Studio (March 2001) track 12, 13 & 14: home recorded by Elly Kellner and track 15 recorded & written by Angelo Huige. All tracks mastered by Rutger Verberkmoes, track 3, 12, 13 and 14 by Andra Veraart. CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner & Andra Veraart. Photography by John Posthumus.
Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar. Andra Veraart: Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar and Programming.

From 1999-2003 I joined forces with Andra Veraart and we started our power duo Keshri. The name Keshri came to me in a dream and after thinking of calling ourselves Elly & Andra we decided Keshri would sound much nicer. I have no idea what it means but I identify with it personally; it’s like it is linked with the wizest part of me. With Andra, who was a multi-instrumentalist, we recorded the Keshri Transition. Performing with Andra, I can say those gigs with him were the most relaxed gigs ever; we were both equally perfectionist but had immense focus on the music. We complemented each other in such a way that it kept our collaboration always in a nice and easy flow.

  1. This hate
  2. Oh how I’ve been
  3. He grows dying flowers
  4. Don’t wanna cry today
  5. Emperor
  6. Truth is mine
  7. All you need on your travels
  8. Naked
  9. Legs & toes
  10. Tripping
  11. New to mankind
  12. It was you, yourself
  13. I am your Coca-cola light
  14. I’m gone now
  15. Shiny Bottle

2002 Elly Kellner - Meet you slowly CD voorkant2002 – Meet you slowly

Home recorded by Elly Kellner in 2000 and 2001. CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar.

Here’s a collection of songs that I recorded myself at different moments and with different tecniques. There are some tracks where my sweet parakeets are clearly audible. One of my parakeets was called Piewiew and he could speak Dutch very well. At that time I didn’t really care that they could be heard on my recordings as he was so much a part of my life. He ate from my plate and went into the shower with me. Every day he told me he loved me so it was all good.

  1. Theeset
  2. ‘Cause I’m lost
  3. Females
  4. A thank you
  5. Not
  6. Ode to summer
  7. Gillie
  8. Another melody
  9. Bluest blue
  10. Being kind
  11. Meet you slowly
  12. Worth a lot
  13. Oxygen
  14. Let it go
  15. How could I
  16. Woman walking
  17. Intermingling
  18. Vladimir
  19. The wind
  20. Thoughts
  21. Medi

In 2003 I moved from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom and even though my English love was the main focus of the move I was also excited for the chance to play my music in England. Looking at my discography it seems like I didn’t record any music from 2002 up till 2008 but that is far from the truth. In England I wrote, recorded, performed, sang backing vocals and set up a band around my music. My songs got more of a rock feel and I played the electric guitar instead of the acoustic. After lenghty rehearsals with the band, I took them back to the Netherlands to record an EP (by producer Danny Gras). The circumstances made it so that in the end these recordings were never put out as an album. In the meantime the internet had become a big thing and like everyone I was putting out my newest solo recordings online and getting feedback from fellow musicians. I learned and experimented so much with music in that period, it was a blast. At the same time I was under a lot of mental pressure. I had suffered with mental illness from when I was a child and working fulltime in the UK, living with a love that had gone sour and being far away from my friends and family didn’t help at all. In 2005 I started having issues with my voice and all my despair came out via my vocal chords. After plenty of hospital visits and a lot of thinking it was time for me to return to the Netherlands, in order to find myself and my voice again. In 2006 I returned and I went straight into much needed therapy. When my voice was back to normal, I started performing solo again and I also started singing in a band called Chanoyu with my longtime friend Danny Gras. Although we never really performed live we did finish an album with awesome psychedelic rock.


2008 Elly Kellner - EP CD Voorkant2008 – Elly Kellner (EP)

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Danny Gras at Yellow Cactus Studio. Mastered by Hay Zeelen Mastering. Design and art direction by Sicco Faase from Pepperpack, photography by Elly Kellner.
Elly Kellner: Vocals, Acoustic guitar.
Lennart v/d Berg: Bass guitar.
Guido Elshof: Drums.
Moniek de Leeuw: Violin.

In 2008 I was looking a little bit more on the bright side and my longtime friend Danny Gras invited me to make some recordings of my songs in his studio. He asked his friend musicians to play on my new EP and the result was wonderful. The only problem was it didn’t sound at all like my live solo performances and so the plan was made to get a band together. Lennart v/d Berg (bass) who also played on this EP and Niels van Rooij (drums) joined in and from 2008 till 2010 we rehearsed weekly and performed wherever we could. It was a lot of fun banter combined with a good focus on the songs. The songs were what everything else revolved around and even though we never recorded another album with this band set-up we did bring a load of new songs to each gig. Adventures with the guys and always a relaxed atmosphere brought by Lennart and Niels, wonderful memories.

  1. Try tree
  2. Oh I wonder
  3. It’s all good
  4. Everything
  5. I’m a leaf

2012 Elly Kellner - Successfool CD overzicht.jpg2012 – Successfool

Produced, recorded and mixed by Elly Kellner (Sept. 2011 – Oct 2012). Mastered by Hay Zeelen Mastering. CD / Design and art direction by Mandy van Goeije. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar.

By the time I got to the year 2011 I had many new songs that I wanted to record. I had already been recording my own music in the years before but after Danny Gras taught me the ropes in Cubase I decided I wanted to properly record and mix my own new album. Successfool is the result. It was also a turning point as well when it comes to songwriting; here we can spot the first Dutch songs and after this I made the switch to focus more on writing Dutch lyrics over a longer period of time.

  1. I ain’t no witch
  2. Hoeveel draad
  3. I am eating all the ice cream
  4. Play
  5. The king
  6. What the tok
  7. Boosaardig
  8. Successfool
  9. Charmer boy
  10. It is true

2016 Elly Kellner - Zinken & Zweven CD overzicht2016 – Zinken & Zweven

Recorded, mixed and mastered by BJ Baartmans at Studio Wilverband in the winter of 2015/2016.
CD – Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Illustratie by Eliza Klein.  Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar on track 11 & 12, Casio on track 12.
BJ Baartmans: Mandolin, Bass, Drums. Percussie, Guitars: Electric, Acoustic, Ebow, Resonator.

Particularly in 2014 I started focusing on writing about the deep thoughts and emotions that I had never expressed clearly. I wanted to get past any censorship or taboo so I wrote about suicide, nothingness, binge-eating, feeling the emptyness and the loss of inspiration. It took me some time before I could play the songs without crying; again the music was my therapy. By 2015 I had written so many songs that it was hard to choose which ones to put on an album! Out of the big heap I made a selection of 25 songs and then organised a songfestival where the audience could give points to each song and the songs that received the highest scores made it on to this album. I recorded Zinken & Zweven at BJ Baartmans studio and he added such wonderful instrumentation, really tuning into what each song needed. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to create music and lyrics that go pretty deep but still sounds inviting and easy on the ear. Because of this Zinken & Zweven is one of my favourite albums.

  1. In m’n buik
  2. Liefde te geven
  3. Is dat leeg
  4. Niets is ook wel lekker
  5. Zo lief
  6. De stem
  7. Engelenhaar
  8. Heb je je zaadjes
  9. Voelen
  10. Buikpijn
  11. De toren
  12. Slaap je inspiratie

2018 Elly Kellner - Mijn gammele cassette CD voorkant.jpg

2018

Mijn gammele cassette

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Danny Gras at De Kift Studio (March 2018), except track 15, 16 and 17 recorded by Elly Kellner in 2014. Album cover created by Elly Kellner. Elly Kellner: Vocals, Backing vocals, Acoustic guitar, Beats, Electronic instruments.

The songs on Mijn gammele cassette were all written in the 2014/2015 period and were hidden away, forgotten almost. After taking a break from performing live I decided to start writing and singing in English again and to let go of my adventure with the Dutch songs. But when my friend Danny suggested to have a recording session at the Kift Studio I suddenly felt these songs still needed to be put out there. By that time Danny and I had known each other for over 20 years so it was special to be working together again. The title Mijn gammele cassette refers to a line in the song Perfecte accessoire but could easily be linked to the analogue tape that was used to make this retro recordings. The songs on this album are in the same line as the previous one but the big difference is that this is just me, Elly, a woman and her guitar, as I always was and when you play Mijn gammele cassette you may well believe that I’m sitting right next to you playing the songs for you personally. That was the aim.

  1. Zoon van Bokito
  2. Alles dat ik niet wil
  3. Perfecte accessoire
  4. Geheim
  5. Dodendans
  6. Alles
  7. Verjaardag
  8. Jong belegen verlegen
  9. Nog wel
  10. Versieren
  11. Suikerslaaf
  12. Grenswachter
  13. Ondiep
  14. Verstoppertje
  15. Fluister en luister
  16. Alles makkelijk
  17. Het is zoals het is

7 songs in 7 videos

First and foremost I’ve been a singer-songwriter since age 9, when I first picked up a guitar and created my first songs. I performed in several places and countries, sometimes as a solo artist and sometimes as part of Matthews Southern Comfort or as backing vocalist for Canadian troubadour Shannon Lyon. Lately I’ve not been performing as much at all because I just want to do what I’m good at: write music,  play and sing my songs. Finding a stage and audience that can truly appreciate my melancholy, quiet music has been tough and I quit playing at busy bars or other unsuitable venues that don’t offer any fee. As with many creative jobs it seems hard for outsiders to understand why we would ask money for our skill and our services, same goes for drawing comic strips. And I’m not going around trying to convince people I’m good enough, begging for a paid gig, so I just stopped altogether.

Conveniently, at the same time, I had a writers block for about a year or so. Too much had happened, relationships had ended and it was just all too much. By the time I did start writing songs about it all I wasn’t able to sing them ’cause I’d start sobbing each time. It was too fresh and one can’t really sing and sob at the time so I gave in to the nothingness. And then, when once in a while there is an opportunity that offers itself to me, like playing in a forest at a summer festival or the chance to play at an intimate living room festival, I take it with both hands. Last Sunday I played at a festival that took place in over 500 living rooms in 15 cities around The Netherlands ‘Muziek bij de buren‘. It was so wonderful to have a really attentive audience listening to my newest songs, the songs I wrote in the past year and a half and that I could never play without crying. It’s a blessing to feel I’ve worked through all the feelings and these songs are ready to go out into the world to be heard. I taped a couple of songs for this recent performance.

If you are curious click on this beautiful photo below, made by Lotte Brouwers, and it’ll take you to seven song videos. ♥ If you liked a song please do like the video for me and if you want to stay updated on my music videos just hit the subscribe button. Until next time… 2017-12-10  Elly bij Muziek bij de Buren - Lotte Brouwers kleiner.jpg (Click here if the photo link doesn’t work)

Crumble Cult interviewed me!

Tony Single from Crumble Cult did an interview about my comics and other things that make me smile. I love how it turned out!

ELLY: Yes, to me a penis definitely has a certain charm (as an entity of its own) and I also find them aesthetically pleasing, just like ladybugs, boobs, trees and birds. […]

Comfy Confabs: Elly Kellner

Hullo, Dear Reader. Welcome to what shall hopefully become an ongoing feature where I pester fellow creatives to chat about themselves and their process of birthing art.

As many of you would already know, art can and does take many forms. Sure, it can be a standard landscape on a gallery wall, but it can also pop up as a stirring folk song or taboo busting webcomic. Art doesn’t need permission to appear however it wants. As long as people from different walks of life are making it then it’s going to bust preconceptions wherever it goes.

There’s someone who was born in Antwerp that I’d like you to meet. She’s half Flemish, half Dutch, and she lives in the Netherlands. I’m not sure if she paints scenes of the countryside but she definitely sings songs and draws comics, ergo she’s an artist. So, hey, let’s break out the billiard chalk and buff our eyes for the click clack of words that follow…

TONY: Welcome, Elly Kellner. I’ve spent the morning listening to your rather pleasant vocal stylings at Creatieve Vlo. You see, I hadn’t even realised that you’re an accomplished singer ’til I tore my eyes away from your comics to find a clearly visible Music tab at the top of your site. As soon as I clicked on that… Well, all I can say is my hearing aid did a little flip of approval! How long have you been singing for?

ELLY: Well I’m glad you liked what you hear! Gosh, I’ve sang ever since I can remember! And when I was 9 years old I started picking up the guitar and after a while songs magically started to appear in my head.

TONY: Wow! What kinds of things were you singing about at that age? Do you remember?

ELLY: I read a lot of books from the library then and would sometimes be inspired by things I read, for instance a story about a girl that got run over by a car and died. I first performed my own song ‘Rain’ in music class at age twelve. It described the sun smiling at a dark rover (a dark cloud with a gun) as he took over the night shift and looked down on us with a grumpy frown. And how his rain made my clothes all wet and how I wished to be home beside the warm fire.

TONY: It’s clear that you had quite an active imagination from a very young age. And empathy too. Where do you think that empathy came from? Was yours an idyllic childhood?

ELLY: Oh dear, idyllic? No, my upbringing was like a fairy tale to me, filled with monsters, witches and much darkness. I was just trying to find out if I was the only one going through what I experienced. I left home at age 15 and lived ‘ever after’ and I still put a lot of energy and focus into the ‘happily’ part every day.

TONY: Yes, people do tend to forget that fairy tales were a lot darker back in the day. I’m glad you were able to find a way out of yours into a much happier story. So, what things make you happy these days?

ELLY: The first that comes to mind is drawing! It was my first creative love as a child but as soon as the music appeared my focus shifted and drawing took the backseat. But now, after some 30 years of focusing on making music my inspiration has decided to not come out in songs anymore. I spent a year without inspiration and then it suddenly came to me in images! It’s a bit scary seeing my dear friend ‘Music’ wander off… but I’m happy my long lost friend ‘Drawing’ came back to me as a replacement. In July 2016 I started creating my own comic and it’s been a fun journey so far!

I’m also quite proud of the give away shop that a friend and I set up a year and a half ago. The shop is open to the public to come shopping for free or to drop off things they don’t use anymore and that someone else may be happy with. It’s a great joy and shows the light side of life; everything in the shop we received from kind people including the shop interior and even the space where our shop is we may use for free. I find that’s pretty amazing! I’ve recently left the shop to focus more on my drawing and it is now run by my friend and six volunteers but the whole thing just proves to me that if you set out to do good and ask for help people are very willing to support you.

TONY: How on earth did you come up with the idea of a give away shop? That’s a quiet kind of genius that could change the world!

ELLY: Here in the Netherlands we have about 40 give away shops so for most of us it’s a normal thing. Of course there are special places all around the world for the needy and poor (I assume?) but a give away shop is for everyone! Even someone who has enough money may enjoy up-cycling and durability. They may enjoy rummaging through old clothes and finding that one gem!

TONY: I don’t think we have an equivalent to be honest. The closest perhaps are the charity shops here that sell second hand essentials at severely reduced prices. I prefer the Netherlands’s approach though. It feels more generous! Do you give away books as well? And what books do you personally love to read? Do you have a favourite author?

ELLY: Yes people can pick books as well as DVDs and some choose to return them once they´re done with them. Hmm, Haruki Murakami´s Kafka on the Shore remains a favorite as is Alice in Wonderland. I don´t read much though, I don´t have the peace in me to quietly sit and read.

TONY: Which explains why you have your fingers in so many creative pies in a way. So, could you tell me a little about your webcomic, and how and why you started it?

ELLY: I guess I’ve always needed a creative outlet to let off steam about my day to day experiences and emotions. I used to put it all in my songs but since that musical inspiration went on a holiday I just had to find something else. I slowly started getting images in my head and tried to draw me! It took a while before I found the right way to draw me.

We have to take into consideration that I’ve never much read any comics before, I had no interest in it whatsoever, except as a child I read the Donald Duck and old Flintstones comics. And I don’t research stuff, I just do it my way. It was the same with music making and writing songs, I just gave it a go and didn’t research what others were doing or how it was meant to be done. And I quite like that tactic in life.

With drawing it works the same… I do follow artists on Instagram, and I just discovered Chuckdrawsthings who draws pigeons that make me laugh or gets me teary eyed sometimes. It can be very inspiring but I don’t want it to influence me too much. The main thing I draw about is me. Anything I draw in these Creatieve Vlo web comics is about my experiences and my feelings. With dating and trying out a polyamorous lifestyle there was enough stuff happening to draw about so I started off with that. Positive body image, me being silly, my relationship with food, mental issues and life with its darker and lighter moments also come into view. And then I have many more ideas to work on…

TONY: Has drawing your strip been as satisfying as you’d hoped it would be? What are some elements of it that you wish to develop going forward?

ELLY: As I’m getting more practice and seeing there’s development in the drawings it gets more and more satisfying. But also, I have so many ideas to draw and it’s just so much fun to get it out on paper and see it actually work! I’d like to keep trying to be open and honest in my work, so try to go into the core, to areas that many would possibly recognize but not many would openly talk about. That way I can be of some help I hope! I think hurt starts the moment one thinks he or she is alone in it. And it can be very comforting to realize there’s many more people feeling the same as you do. I have more ideas that go more towards the ridiculous, talking poop or talking penises for instance. They seem to lead a life of their own so I’ve started drawing them too. I bet they’re very pleased with me.

TONY: I’ll bet they are too! In fact, you mention penises, and there’s something I’ve noticed with that. I get the distinct impression that you are completely enamoured of them! Is this the case? I ask because you seem to draw them on a regular basis.

ELLY: Yes, to me a penis definitely has a certain charm (as an entity of its own) and I also find them aesthetically pleasing, just like ladybugs, boobs, trees and birds. The penis is just another beautiful thing in this world that I enjoy drawing. Now this isn’t a shout out for males, ladybugs or trees to come tug at my sleeve so they can model in the nude for me. No thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you…

TONY: Yes, this isn’t a cattle call, Dear Readers. Elly’s doing just fine, thanks very much. Well, I guess all that remains is for me to thank you for taking part in this interview. Is there a question that you wish I’d asked?

ELLY: Hmm, did you ask about where the name Creatieve Vlo came from?

TONY: Oh my god. Yes! Of course! That!

ELLY: Creatieve Vlo is Dutch for creative flea! Sometimes when I get a creative idea it’s like it’s an itch that needs to be scratched or dealt with asap. Once I was telling a friend that I was in a good flow with so many creative plans while I was thoughtlessly scratching my head. He smiled and commented that I might have the creative flea. So I really owe the name to this friend.

 

The original piece can be found here: Comfy Confabs: Elly Kellner — Crumble Cult

Vacuum

Vacuum
: an empty space in which there is no air or other gas : a space from which all or most of the air has been removed
: a space not filled or occupied; emptiness; void
: a situation created when an important person or thing has gone and has not been replaced
2015-11-04 Vacuum