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Rising Stars: Meet Kelly Canova

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Canova.

Kelly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Art and design have always been my passion. I am at my best and happiest when I am creating some art. I studied Fashion Design in Miami and have a degree in Commercial Art from Ft Lauderdale’s Art Insitute. I started my art career as a hand-made sign painter in the 80s and worked for corporations (Rite Aid, AAA) as a graphic designer for many years. I have three grown children, a bonus step-son, and married to my husband Courtney – also an artist. He does big amazing murals and fine art. We’ve had our own business together since 2009 doing photography (The Canovas Photography) and art. I love and am proud of our business – we started a whole new career in our late 40’s and have been pretty successful.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I have always worked in a corporate situation, so starting our own business later in life and in the bad economy of 2009 felt a little crazy. We definitely learned as we went and made plenty of mistakes. We had a few years where we made just enough money to pay our bills. Both of us are artists, not business people, so we may not have done things the smartest way.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I love taking beautiful portraits. I love faces and think everyone is beautiful. I’ve photographed many weddings and love them too. We’ve met so many wonderful people and families throughout the years. Clients that became friends. When the Pandemic hit, I knew I could not just sit in my house and do nothing. I saw a photographer from up North on the news who was taking photos of families on their porches. I knew I wanted to do that for my community in DeLand. My husband and I took photos of over 200 families on their porches, documenting their lives at this time. We did this for almost 40 days straight. I am proud of that project. I think it made a lot of people happy. There is an exhibit being planned for that series at the Museum of DeLand in the next couple of months. We are also working on a book with all the family portraits. I love making things, most recently drawings that include real flowers then photographed. I’ve sold quite a few and had a few exhibitions for those. I love to make collage art, embroidery art, and window murals. With the rough days of 2020, some merchants in downtown DeLand wanted to have some uplifting words and illustrations on their windows, so I have done quite a few of those as well. It is a fun project. I think I am known for and proudest of those types of projects that have an impact on the community in some way.

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I think starting our own business kind of out of the blue was pretty risky. But it made me a stronger woman. I am more apt to “go for it” than in my earlier career days. I think it is important to take risks, and I plan on continuing.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Shipra Panosian Gian Carlo Photography Randy Barber

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