John Kelly was born in 1965. Due to his birth, heritage and circumstance John now holds three passports and therefore is an Englishman, an Australian and an Irishman. Kelly has lived in all three countries and for the past decade has resided in west Cork, Ireland. In 1985 Kelly obtained a Bachelor of Arts from RMIT University, Melbourne, where he also completed his Masters of Arts in 1995. As a winner of the 1995 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, he travelled to London to study as an Affiliate Student at the Slade School of Art from 1996 to 1997. Kelly’s work has tackled contemporary issues – such as branding in contemporary culture, and museum politics.
In the UK, Kelly has exhibited regularly with the Piccadilly Galleries, Agnews Gallery, and Merville Galleries. In Australia, Kelly is best known for his paintings and large sculptures of William Dobell’s cows, which have been widely exhibited in France, The Hague, Glastonbury, Cork and Melbourne. Kelly’s work is held in many museums in Australia, and also the Guangdong Museum, China.