Kevin Rolly shot his first photograph on the shores of Maryland. It was of an older woman he had a crush on. She was 11 … he was 8. In many ways he feels he has taken the same photograph ever since. He then taught himself the art that, unbeknown to him at the time, would soon become his career. He began shooting professionally when still in his teens, gave up his Astrophysics scholarship, disappointed his guidance counselors and moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to set up his studio. In 1994, when struggling to find a way to extend the photograph beyond it’s traditional means, he developed a technique of creating a hybrid of darkroom photography with oil color. He called the new technique “Oilgraphing” which has become his signature style.
In 1997, on a dare, he was asked to demonstrate the new technique during a lecture series. The dare turned into a performance and since then nearly a third of his work is created live.
Kevin Rolly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied film production at the Pennsylvania State University where he won the Student Emmy for his film “An Early October.” Kevin has been published in such magazines as ELLE, Mirabella, W, Detour and many other national and international publications. His works are in numerous private and corporate collections both in the US and in Europe and divides his time between his commercial and fine art endeavors.
His first museum exhibition “Until the Road Forgets” premiered at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in 2003. He is currently shooting and painting the 60 panel series “In the Time of the Judges;” his follow up biblical series to his 2005 “Tributes for Kings – The Stations of the Cross,” and with partners Christine Nash, Kenny Abney and Dan Dass Man, is developing BIG ART LABS in downtown Los Angeles into the largest complex of art workshops in the city.
“I have always been interested in the hidden being revealed, both in people’s personal journeys and in my own. Everyone has a story. What I concern myself with is telling those stories with honesty and dignity. In each of us there is both darkness and light. To tell our stories without one or the other is to be disingenuous to our nature. In the end, however, it is the light that breaks through the darkness that I search for the most. Yet, the darkness still needs to be present . It reveals the need of the light while we are still in this painful theatre of our humanity.
For me photography and painting is listening. If I do my job then the story is written in the image and ultimately tells everyone’s story. The process of revealing the image through the oil only extends the journey of the light breaking through. It illuminates what I believe is the world both seen and unseen. In the performances where the work is created in front of an audience, it simply gives the audience the opportunity to experience that journey at the same time I am. Each is an act of faith. ”