Muralist Desiree Kelly Hosts First Solo Exhibition in Ferndale

The Detroit native will display her distinctive urban-style portraits inside AtomArt Gallery in May
Muralist Desiree Kelly with one of her portraitures. // Photograph Courtesy of Desiree Kelly

Wayne State University alumni and professional artist Desiree Kelly will be hosting her first solo exhibition at AtomArt Gallery in Ferndale on May 5. The graphic designer and muralist’s work is featured in various spots around metro Detroit, including Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles, the Grand River Creative Corridor, and in the gym of Spain Middle School ­– a piece commissioned by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. She has also painted murals for international shoe brand Converse, and was the featured artist for the Spring 2017 Savor Detroit Dinner Series, presented by Hour Detroit.

Inspired by her east side Detroit roots, Kelly creates urban-style portraitures in various mediums like oil paints, spray paint, and collage. Her portrait subjects range from presidents and poets to rappers and musicians, and often convey the personality and essence of each person in a vibrant way. Her most iconic work, “Abe in Shades,” can be seen in Detroit’s Grand River Creative Corridor.

As a professional artist for more than 15 years, Kelly is excited about curating her first solo exhibition. She was first approached about the idea last October while partaking in a group showing at AtomArt Gallery. “Up until this point, I had not considered ever doing a solo show,” Kelly says in a press release. “Now, I am just grinding, painting, and working hard, coming up with ideas and the theme for my solo show — a collection of iconic music figures.”

Titled “Faces of Music,” Kelly’s art exhibition will feature large-scale portraitures of well-known musicians. The month-long exhibit will officially open to the public with a free reception on Saturday, May 5. The opening will be serving Mexican drinks and appetizers courtesy of RollUp Truck from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Kelly’s work will be on display until the end of the month.

AtomArt Gallery, 522 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-677-6740;

For more information on Desiree Kelly, visit