Kelsey King
Kelsey King

What does it take to be a top seller at the annual MCAD Art Sale? We asked Kelsey King, one of the best of the last two decades, to talk us through her experience and share her secrets.

Kelsey King ’13 is a freelance illustrator and educator located in Dayton’s Bluff in St Paul, Minnesota. Her work has appeared in publications including MinnPost, Vita.MN, Cricket Magazine, and Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine. She has worked with companies such as General Mills, Target, Quarto Publishing, Krispy Kreme, and many others.

What medium do you primarily work in?

Digital illustration.

What has MCAD meant for you in terms of launching your creative career?

MCAD has been an amazing resource. Having my peers as a network has been hugely valuable to me in getting started as a professional in my field, as well as the information, mentorship, and guidance I received from my professors both while I was at MCAD and after.

Where are you now in your career/what does your primary artist practice look like?

I make illustrations for myself and professionally. As a freelance illustrator I make work for books, magazines, and online content as well as clothing and products. I now also teach several illustration classes at MCAD.

Where can people find your work?

You can find my work on my website or follow me on social media for updates on when I sell my work locally!

Can you describe a memorable sale or moment from the Art Sale?

I remember a great moment when I was walking around the art sale and saw someone spot one of my illustrations, yell excitedly, and then grab their friend and pulled them over to look at it. It was so touching to see such genuine excitement inspired by something I had made!

What do you love about making art?

I love making work that reflects how I feel and makes me feel something while I'm making it. If I'm laughing while drawing something, I feel like I'm doing something right!

Have you ever purchased anything from the Art Sale? Describe your favorite piece.

I try and buy at least one piece every year! My walls are starting to get pretty full now—not sure I can pick just one favorite.

Is there any Art Sale work that has inspired you?

Ever since I was a student the Art Sale was one of my favorite times to be at MCAD. There's nothing more inspiring than seeing the walls absolutely covered with artwork! Every year it inspires me to make new things—and to similarly cover my walls with art.

What Art Sale advice would you give young MCAD artists?

Try and understand who is buying your work. Everyone's art tends to have a different audience, and if you can understand what they're looking for (size, price range, etc) it's easier to know what to put into the sale. I always sell small gift-able illustrations since I've talked to people at the sale and have been told they're buying them for friends or family.


Additional Top Sellers

*Note that the term "Top Seller" is defined both in sales and number of pieces sold.
**King will not have works for sale at this year's MCAD Art Sale; only current students and graduates from the past five years are eligible to participate.