As featured in Voyage Houston:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Gale Amen.
Kelly Gale, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Having moved to Houston in 1972, the joy of watching what was, at that time, a small town become one of the major urban complexes has been fun in its evolve.
The fun was jumping into design with Foley’s but knowing immediately that I beat to a different drum. I resigned and moved in with a client, being a live-in designer for three and a half years, starting my own business, and having the fun of true bohemian life.
This project, this house, brought me through its creative energy, national coverage and the cover of Residential Design, September-October 1976.
Next, I moved into a River Oaks townhome putting together a collection of various ethnic pieces from my first round-the-world trip of buying, and put it on the market, furnished, and was offered a sack load of cash.
With that sack, I went to Montrose and bought a property which became the KGA Compound, where I lived for 25 years. I nurtured artists, nurtured the creative energy, nurtured the components that allow my voice to speak and share as to what I believe to be of value.
My creative energy is what I use as a barometer and a Google Map for this exploration and embrace of life.
In the early 1980’s, at The Compound, I started my pillows, which now, the Athena Pillow is the voice of our awareness campaign, Cancer Below the Belt…check out the Dirty Dozen. In the early 1990’s, I began KGA functional art furniture which is now collected in museums, municipalities, private collections and we call it the thousand-year-furniture.
All of these facets facilitate how I help people embrace their environment and unlimited possibilities of change. One of my special, special, abilities is to be able to flip the client’s contents, seeing it with a new eye and new vision.
I promise, if you love what you do, Google Maps (haha!) will take you where you need to go.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Life is not supposed to be smooth. Life is supposed to be the embrace of what one sees, shares and does and how they do it. The creative process for me is not just to be satisfied, but is helping people see what they don’t understand. The joy is helping people embrace discomfort as they walk through the door into the future.
It’s almost as if when you take someone into a new environment or situation you are responsible for how they embrace and share this.
Moments of discomfort.
Everyone has moments of discomfort but it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle what happens with you. Having been in the midst of developing the KGA Functional Art Collection, I had a partnership with cancer. At that moment, it was my interest to combine western and eastern medicines and look at life through a more open vision. As we would say in our awareness campaign, Cancer Below the Belt, let’s put the ease back in disease.
Moving from the reality to virtual.
Now, professionally, I remember the first time I used the fax machine, I was in India. It was revolutionary in the way of doing business. Now we are so technologically compliant, brick and mortar is all we know. But as we move into e-commerce it will be fascinating how we go from the reality of the virtual to the virtual reality. My world began in a reality, now we have moved into the virtual, but how does one take the brick and mortar concept, flip it to e-commerce and still know what the fabric, the furniture feels, looks or is to be a part of your environment. We are in new and exciting times.
Let your virtual become our reality.
With my current collection, rugs, wallpapers, fabrics, furniture, upholstery, the reality is that you can see it, this collection, at Ken Kehoe Showroom.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The fun part of business for me is to know the client and the joint-journey that comes from the creative process. I have been self-employed for 45 years and have had various people in and out and watching my hysteria as the work ethic has altered, as the technology has corrupted, as we have moved from what I love – which is the one on one.
I have had the fortune to work all over world and have had clients who are interested in the process. It has been interesting to see that no matter what I do, I am able to find the person’s energy and voice, and move them into a direction that satisfies. Having been in China, lecturing on luxury design, I put together a Power Point and looked at my designs over the last 40 years. It didn’t matter what year I pulled a photo from– I learned my style was timeless and one couldn’t tell what era from which it was pulled.
In 1998, when I was given the Traditional Home Designer of the Year: I looked at my work and said, “It doesn’t seem to be traditional.” They said, “Not so,” “traditional is what stands the test of time.” That is how I would classify my work.
What were you like growing up?
I am still growing up. It seems to me that we are like an old tire. You can rotate the tire, but the tread is the same. My humor is still the same. My momentum is still the same. The fun part about being a child was to enjoy the creativity that was never beaten out of me. The sad part about so many young people is that their joy is taken from them—that didn’t happen to me.
I was raised in Oklahoma, one the farm in the country. Raised with organic– we didn’t know what that was– and am amazed how far we’ve gone from it. Not right. Not wrong.
- Website: http://www.kga.net
- Phone: 713-522-1410
- Email: [email protected]
- Instagram: kellygaleamen
- Facebook: kellygaleamen
- Twitter: kellygaleamen