If you’ve been in the new Wahlburgers in Dorchester, you probably noticed the art wrapping the columns in the new South Bay burger joint. The bold and graphic print proudly displays the neighborhood of Dorchester in typography. In addition to neighborhoods like Savin Hill, Adams Village, Codman Square, Jones Hill, and Uphams Corner (to name a few), people, places, businesses, schools and local institutions are all represented. New Kids on the Block even get a mention.
The artwork is created by South Boston native and St. Louis artist Kelly (Maginnis) Sieckhaus. We recently had a little Q&A with Kelly!
Where do you live?
I live in Saint Louis, Mo. with my husband Bob and two of my three children. I left Southie when I was 23 and I’ve lived in four states since leaving Boston. But my heart remains in Southie. I lived on the corner of Tudor/Lily St., grew up on G street, then moved to the lower end to Baxter Street where I lived through high school. My family remained in that house for years after. My family still lives in South Boston. I’m like most families form Boston, three brothers, two sisters and a slew of cousins!
How long have you been creating art?
For as long as I can remember. It probably started with Anne Gordon at the Boys and Girls Club. I’m positive I racked up some serious hours in Discovery and fell in love with creating. My mom is also super creative. I became a tad more serious about it in high school. I definitely wasn’t the best but I had a great art teacher! He helped me understand my strengths. I always felt more creative than artistically talented. I think that is why I focused on drawing and pottery versus painting at a younger age.
Tell us about your prints.
I have always had an infatuation with black and white. I would constantly be drawing my friends pictures using their names and words with just uni ball pens. My art to me, was just very elaborate doodling at that time. Years later, I got a job painting custom furniture, glass and pottery for an upscale boutique in Saint Louis called The Woman’s Exchange. I worked there for 10 years. It was here, that I gained the confidence I needed to believe that what I had to offer, people would like. After I left that job, I started to do more graphic art work – which is the medium I love most of all. When you can lose track of time for hours and hours and have it feel like mere moments, this is your passion.
How did your artwork end up on Wahlburgers columns?
My original typography print was my “Southie” poster (see below). That poster sold over 200 prints in 3 years. It caught the attention of my Dorchester friends and family who kept asking me when I would create a Dot poster (see below). At first I did not think I should do one being a Southie gal an all – but through some persuasion, A LOT of research, and help from some great Dot gals who I went to school with, I got it done! When I first saw Wahlburgers restaurant and how they used the typography on the ceilings, I had it in the back of my mind to get my print on the wall – just a framed art piece. I started tweeting at them, and tagging them in posts borderline stalker. Then I solicited my brother Scott who lives in Dorchester to personally hand a poster to one of the brothers, Bobby. I just wanted them to see it. I know their hearts are all about the community, and this poster, I felt was something they would like. Bobby loved it and brought it to a meeting with the creative team and they also loved it. They called me right away to ask for permission to use for the pillars. I was so excited. It was surreal to see everyone at the opening standing in front of the pillars taking pictures. I was just grateful. Grateful for the opportunity, and grateful that my brother Scott helped make it happen – I thanked him by taking him with me to the opening!
Where can people purchase your artwork if they’d like to show their neighborhood pride in their homes?
I have a website www.kellysieckhaus.com, or they can also email me at [email protected]. The posters can be customized for a small fee. You can take out up to five items out and add your own. I also have hometown sports posters, and also design custom prints. I have designed The South Boston Neighborhood House’s annual benefit and auction Gala awards for the past couple years.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
Awesome! My big sister is famous lol.. Great job Kel and also to my brother Scott for helping get it done. Super proud to be your baby sis..
This is a fantastic article about roots and passion. Kelly is amazing and driven. I love her art work and that she is a sweet loving Southie girl at heart. Talented and grounded she continues to follow her passion and brighten the day for others. I wish her much success in her pursuit of her dreams.
Thanks for showing off my talented young friend Maureen it is nice to see that other folks appreciate Kelly’s talent for graphic art . She has created a lot of beautiful pieces I actually got my sister one of her pieces about how caring Nurses are. Proud to know this amazing young woman
Thanks again from one of your old neighbors