Kelly Coates | Idaho Falls Arts Council Skip to main content

Kelly Coates


  • Exhibitions
  • Arts Council

Kelly Coates Solo Exhibition

  • 9/07/2023
  • 9am - 5pm Mon-Thurs, 9am - 3pm Fri, 11am - 3pm Sat
  • Willard Arts Center

Hall Gallery

Gallery Reception Thursday, September 7, 5-8pm, in conjunction with Idaho Falls Art Walk

Sponsored by Michael Saunders and Dr. Monika Buerger, Mario and Glenda Hernandez, Teton Auto Group

Kelly Coates


“My passion is creating art of animals. The sense of love and meaning animals bring to our everyday lives is something I aspire to provide to you in my art. With each portrait I am looking for that special connection. I also like to paint animals because I can be totally honest in my interpretation of what I see, not always wise with human beings. I work with different mediums including acrylic paint and graphite.”

“Hello, my name is Kelly. I am an animal portrait artist. I live in Idaho not far away from Yellowstone National Park. I grew up in South Carolina, so local people find my southern accent and cravings for sweet tea amusing. I have been creative all my life. When I was 7, I visited the animation studio at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was very inspiring to see drawings brought to life. I knew then and there I wanted to be a professional artist.

My father’s career took us from South Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia. This is where I discovered many opportunities for educational and career growth. My high school art teacher was very impressed with my artwork and showcased it in the annual Dogwood Festival. My instructor helped me apply to a premiere art college, Savannah College of Art and Design where I earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Animation. After graduating from college, self-reflection and discovery, helped me find what was important to me. I began to create a life that made it possible to follow my ambitions and dreams. I believe traditional art has given me purpose as it helps capture beloved pets and exotic animals that might be difficult to see up close in the wild or at the zoo.

In the winter of 2021, when I was within arm’s length of a bison, I knew I wanted to focus on animal portraits. I wanted to capture how amazing it feels to be so close to such unusual and breathtaking animals. I find fine art to be very therapeutic, and it has become a form of meditation for me. My work is inspired by the beauty of nature, with a focus on wildlife. I love to surround myself in nature and find it to be very healing. Nature helps us clear our head in a nonjudgmental environment to help us develop a strong focus on our true needs.

I hope my drawings and paintings add something unique to your home, help you take pleasure in your day and offer you a little escape from the stresses of everyday life.”