Category Archives: TK blog

Firefly Puzzle Art Mural

May 10, 2017 – with today being a full moon – I thought I would post this beautiful piece of artwork highlighting the moon, stars, and fireflies!  Enjoy!

A Team of Little Picasso’s.

Back in September of 2016, I spent the afternoon at the Children’s Home in Pittsburgh, PA.  I worked with the Child’s Way Children.  Child’s Way is a Pediatric Extended Care Center which offers an alternative or supplement to in-home nursing and therapy care for medically fragile children.  The children range in ages birth to 21 and is run like a typical daycare center.  It’s divided into five classrooms:  infant, younger toddler, older toddler, preschool, and school-age. .I spent the afternoon creating puzzle art with the children.  We decided to do a collaboration piece for the 6th Annual Noe’s Night of Lights, a fundraiser for the Children’s Home, hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Jason and Sherry Ott in memory of their two children Noe and Shay. 

As I watched and helped the young children mix their colors and paint, it really hit me how powerful ART can be.  The children were focused and determined.  Some were non-verbal, so it was crucial that they were able to express themselves thru art. This was a way for them to communicate and be heard.  By expressing themselves through ART they were able to talk to YOU, to ME, to EVERYONE!

The Meaning Behind the Mural

This mural consisted of 23 fireflies, each firefly representing a Child’s Way Child, and two BIG, BRIGHT, fireflies, symbolizing Noe and Shay Ott.  I choose fireflies because they are tiny messengers that whisper in the darkness…”don’t lose hope because magic does exist!”

How was the mural created?

The project was a collaborative piece between the Child’s Way Children and Miss Gabi. All 23 children painted a puzzle piece blue and purple swirls creating the night sky.  Next we (my team) assembled the pieces and mapped out and painted the moon, the star and fireflies.  To add the finishing touches, I added four (4) sets of LED Battery operated lights plus glitter to make it glow! 

This mural clearly has become another beautiful example of how ART heals.  Through the creation of this puzzle art mural, we are able to show a sense of peace, strength and LOVE.

Passion….Art….Unconditional Love….it all goes together.  We were able to make a connection with the children as well as EVERYONE around the world.  Again, the Puzzle Project connects and continues to touch lives and by making a difference with ART.  ART HEALS!  ART IS GOOD FOR YOU!

Written by: Miss Gabi

Expression, Connection and Other Peoples Perspective

5.5.17  (Written on a very rainy Friday in New York City)

“Expression, Connection and Other Peoples Perspective”
by Tim Kelly, coordinator of The Puzzle Project

Art and The Puzzle Project have taught me many lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that Perspective is Everything.

The project offers participants a multi-layered creative experience. When you decide to express yourself creatively, you not only go on a creative journey, but the person you share your art with learns about you and a new perspective that is not their own. It is one of my favorite aspects of this project… New Perspectives.

At the very beginning of the project I worked with a kid from The David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center during an Art is Good creative workshop. Her name is Mikayla. She painted a rainbow on her puzzle piece with the words, “It Takes Both Rain and Sunshine to Make a Rainbow.” I was floored by the wisdom of such a young child. Her father died of a brain tumor. Mikayla loves making art. She told me that her Mom always says this quote to her. I think it is beautiful that she chose something her Mom says as her meaningful puzzle piece idea. Her mother, Wendy, is the grief councilor for the brain tumor center. She turned her rainy days into sunshine and a rainbow. The message is a great perspective to have when times are tough.

We are all different. Each puzzle piece is different, just like us. Each piece is someone’s perspectives or story. That is what makes the puzzle project exhibition events so interesting and inspires & fascinates me every day.

puzzle project, art is good, healing arts, rainbow, rain, sunshine, art, puzzle piece, tim kelly artist,

(Left) Created at an Art is Good Creative workshop for The David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center
(Right) The Brooklyn International High School staff at Exhibition at Brooklyn Borough Hall

After my experience with Mikayla, the story became part of my standard Puzzle Project introduction to new participating groups. When I discuss different ideas people have for their puzzle piece and why, I tell the story of Mikayla’s piece, “It Takes Both Rain and Sunshine to Make a Rainbow.”

One day I gave a project introduction at The International High School in Brooklyn, an amazing institution with a great staff and intelligent students. The students were all born and raised in another country. The staff brought me to the school, so students can make puzzle pieces about their individual immigrant experience.  I brought dozens of example pieces and spoke specifically about a few of them. I told Mikayla’s “Rainbow” story. I discussed the analogy of rain being a bad day or difficulty in life and sunshine being a good day and/or healing. The teacher informed me that it is an ESL (English as a Second Language) school and I may not want to speak too fast and should keep things simple so every student can understand. I noticed one of the students looking confused. He was a polite young man from the Middle East. I apologized to him for speaking so fast and asked him if I needed to repeat anything he didn’t understand. But the thing is, he heard me clearly and understood my words, but didn’t comprehend the logic of the analogy. He asked in the most concerned and curious way, “So, RAIN is BAD??”

This young man grew up in a family of farmers. When it rains they are elated. RAIN is GOOD! Rain is damn good. Perspective. Now that I’ve learned his perspective, I have modified my analogy with the disclaimer that RAIN is GOOD… I’ve learned this because ART is GOOD. Perspective. 

To Learn more about The David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center go to:
*Mikayla is now a teen 
counselor and assists with social media at Camp Jinka.  She has “Grown Up Jinka.”

To learn more about the Brooklyn International High School go to:

This is an excerpt from an unedited draft of the book about the Puzzle Project called, “Art is Good: the story of the artsolutely extraordinary journey of the puzzle art installation & collaborative project.” The chapter is called, “Expression, Connection and Other Peoples Perspective”


Graphic Design & Fine Art: Two Peas in a Pod

Graphic Design & Fine Art are Two Peas in a Pod
(by Tim Kelly)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso


Every designer and creative professional I know is really a fine artist at heart. Most creatives were born artists, loved making art as kids & teens and eventually transitioned to design in college.

My story is much the same. I’ve been an artist since birth. Creativity has always felt right. It started with doodling and coloring then moved quickly to sketching cartoons. My parents interrupted my 17 year daydream to ask what I wanted to major in at college. They recommended art, since it made me happy. My parents stressed the importance of doing what you love. Since they never steered me wrong, I enrolled at The West Virginia University School of Creative Arts.

Originally, I went to art school but transitioned to Advertising in my 2nd year. Earning a living as an agency creative, as opposed to a fine artist, seemed more practical. But, I never stopped making art.

The thing is, graphic arts and fine arts are two peas in a pod. Advertising creative/graphic design (like fine art) is a combination of balance, color theory and creative story telling. They really have the same goals: get people thinking and elicit a response, emotion or action.

After college, I began working in advertising with a focus on design and print production. In 2000 I began working for a 5th Avenue branding & design agency in NYC. The whole time, I never stopped making and selling my art.

Layout 1
In 2006, I resigned from my agency and started CreativeSeven, an award winning design boutique specializing in branding, creative development & production management. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Still, I never stopped making art.

Each day I toggle between design and art projects. Toggling allows me to step away from each project, while remaining in the “creative zone”. Graphic art and fine art are two peas in a pod… both are forms of creative expression.

Soon the freedom offered by my freelance career allowed me to pursue more art opportunities. In addition to being a creative director, designer and artist, I began teaching art and facilitating creative workshops. My professional life and means of income are 100% creative.

When I meet a colleague during an advertising or design project, I know they’re an artist and always have been. I ask. Many still paint, but many do not. Some feel you must be either “a designer” OR “an artist”… not both. But I say you can be both. It’s OK. Expressing one’s self with fine art may even make you a better designer or creative professional. Never stop making art. Why should you? Design and art really are just two peas in a pod.

– My design site:
– My creative workshops:
– My art:
– My world-wide art project:

The Art-Love-Triangle

(by Tim Kelly)

The Art-Love-Triangle

The end goal of most creative workshops is to exhibit and celebrate the artwork created during Art is Good. The coming together of artists, art and beholders is an important part of the Art is Good experience about art and you.  

art, artist & beholder

The interaction between beholder and artist may be a simple glance of approval, an honest compliment or a sincere question.  The dialog about what has been created, both stokes the confidence of the artist and may inspire the beholder to create their own art.  Sometimes, the beholder finds meaning within the art that is not stated by the artist.  Looking at artwork often evokes a feeling or an emotion. Talking about it adds life to the art.


Art, artist and beholder.  These three elements together are what makes the exhibition experience so important.  It is a way of looking back and reveling in what has been made. It gives context to what has been created and why. It is an artful celebration. It is another reason why Art is Good.

Collaboration is a Beautiful Thing

(by Tim Kelly)

Art is Good Creative Workshops are a great tool for team-building. Corporations, organizations and arts groups have utilized them to strengthen connections between team members. By making art and collaborating together, the shared creative experience forms lasting connections within each group. Each participant creates something meaningful (to them). Your team will learn a little bit about each other and may even learn a little about themselves. The Art is Good Team will bring the art supplies... your people simply need to bring their good ideas.

Creating together is a fun, meaningful activity that your group will always remember.

Creating together is a fun activity that your group will always remember.

The artwork created is a tangible product that can be exhibited at your office, headquarters or locally (and celebrated). The process of discussing each others artwork adds depth and meaning to the creative experience.


It is a great Summer Team-Building activity. Try it, you will like it. Book an Art is Good Creative Workshop Today!

Art is Good for You

(by Tim Kelly)
Art is Good for you, this I know.  You don’t have to consider yourself an artist to experience the benefits of creativity. Making art is an amazing form of expression & catharsis.  You can make art for a living or just for yourself. You can make it out of anything and about anything.  There truly are no rules to it.

People love to dance together at weddings or out with their friends, but don’t think they have to be Mikhail Baryshnikov or Misty Copeland.  People sing karaoke or in the shower, but don’t have to be Luciano Pavarotti or Lady Gaga.  Why do people think they have to be Salvador Dali or Frida to make art??


There is no official ID card declaring someone an artist and making it legal for them to create.  I’m really not sure why people make a big deal about it. You don’t have to be a master artist to create your own personal masterpiece.  You don’t even have to show your art to anyone.

Grab a pad or a blank canvas and create something.  Don’t over think how you make it, but consider WHAT you will make it about.  Draw, doodle, paint or collage.  What you create in the end may not be what you original planned, but like in life, you creatively improvise.  Don’t be surprised if you like it. You may learn something about yourself from your art. You may even have fun.

I hope your feeling creative today… Art is good for you!


Tim Kelly, artist