Adolescent Nostalgia: Collages of Kelly McCafferty

This past summer,  some pals and I adventured to Wassaic – a small town in the Hudson Valley. We were headed to the annual Wassaic Arts Festival, which has been promoting and celebrating contemporary art with their extensive residency program, community outreach, and numerous collaborative projects. The festival includes performative arts, film, music and camping. While lying in the grass was pretty satisfying coming from the concrete jungle, I also made sure to check out their huge group show, which included many interesting and talented artists.

Kelly McCafferty is the first of a few I’d like to share. Her collages are playful, balanced and brimming with nostalgia. The materials she uses range from fabric to vintage photographs and magazine images to toys, keys… seemingly anything that works for the composition. Upon first viewing her work, I was immediately reminded of my bulletin board from high school.

catmom1 catmom5 catmom8-2

Images from McCafferty’s installation, Catmom

Like any decent collage artists, McCafferty enjoys how objects and materials can play off one another, creating a new experience for the viewer. However, something about her work that I find particularly attractive is how they are almost too familiar with their young adult palette and themes. Her combination of common textiles, thumb tacks and pictures of teen dreamboats create an air of intimacy that should not be overlooked.


Dark Pictograms


French Fry


Kept Animal


Like Heaven

37_ruralmoon Rural Moon

37_sexualalchemy Sexual Alchemy


Swim Meet

Kelly McCafferty also makes large wall installations, like this one entitled Sweet 16 from 2012:


McCafferty gained an MFA from Pratt in 2012 and created this large installation, SPELL. I love how she made a space with the intention of having the viewer stick around, surrounded by so much colorful inspiration.


All images curtesy of Kelly McCafferty herself and her website.

About Lynn Hunter

Lynn Hunter has been working in textiles and instructing at the Textile Arts Center since she returned to NYC after a long stint exploring Europe & Asia in 2013. Outside of TAC, Lynn splits her time between creatively directing at Heirloom, an antique rug company and exploring her erotic rope project Tight Rope.

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