Kerry Vera Lea

Kerry Vera Lea is a self-taught, outsider artist living in Harlem, NYC. She is a compulsive artist and has several collections which each include hundreds of pieces each. She works in various mediums from sculpture to photography to found art.

A passionate Vegan and advocate for all sentient beings, Kerry has rescued over 100 animals (from cats to cows), was a foster parent to several children (including previously incarcerated teenagers) and ran a performing arts school & creative therapy practice in Chelsea, NYC for 10 years. She’s been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on TV for her advocacy and charitable work. Her favourite word is “Ahimsa,” which means “Non-Harm” to all sentient beings.

As an artist, Kerry’s work has been in galleries throughout NY and the Tri-State Area including a show at Madison Square Garden. She was a member of HAI’s Artist’s Studio for several years (an organization dedicated to bringing arts to Hospital Audiences and supporting and promoting artists living with mental illness) and has shown several times in their gallery. She’s also donated numerous paintings to fundraisers and galas to raise money for charitable organizations like the Farm Sanctuary and The Mayor’s Alliance (where she showed in The National Arts Club, NYC). She’s also sold her prints as part of Union Square’s well-known art market where both locals and tourist come to see great art from artists from around the world.

Kerry has acted in theatre, film, on TV, models and does voice overs for cartoons, video games and commercials. She’s been interviewed on FOX news (yeah, FOX news…) and has been heard several times voicing characters on MTV and Nickelodeon. She is currently in production for a documentary about her life, directed by Chino Maurice and filming in NY and LA.

She loves circus arts (can juggle, spin plates, do the Diabolo, walk on stilts, twist balloons, do the “rolla-bolla,” is a professionally trained Mime and painted clown make-up for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 14 years), is a singer/songwriter and rapper, worked for the Psychic Readers Network, lived in the attic of a funeral home, took a cross-country trip in a beat-up 1974 Volkswagen Vanagon (she bought two of them… One for parts to fix the second one…), can say the alphabet backwards in less than five seconds, wrote and performed a one-woman show and has over 50 tattoos. She’s also written several plays and screenplays, including two musicals with full scores. A self-taught musician, she plays the piano, guitar, djembe, harmonica and the saw. She “love-streams” Agape services every Sunday and attends their services in person when she’s in LA. She has only been out of the country for two days- one in Mexico and one in Toronto (where her original show “Vegucation” was performed for 15,000 people!). She dreams of visiting India and loves Hinduism & studies Sanskrit.

While in the process of opening her business at age 19, Kerry worked in nightclubs (and even a Starbucks! Yes, they paid her to do this!) as a body painter for several years. She’s designed tons of tattoos for people but has never held a tattoo machine (something she wants to learn how to do). She especially loves photographing Drag Queens and people going through the process of becoming Transgender. While she has never owned a TV, her favourite show is "RuPaul’s Drag Race" and her favourite contestant ever is Willam Belli (who she has gotten to meet several times… and it’s always exciting!)…

Having spent most of her adult life in the East Village & Lower East Side, Kerry now lives in Harlem with her amazing husband, incredible son/dog Krishna (who is a Service Dog and saves her life on a moment-by-moment basis), their five extremely communicative cats- Karuna, Puppy, Chinese, Apache/Brave & Gaja (who is feral) and their 3 brilliant and loving rats- Khaliel, Kofi & Keavaughnie... But she’s had up to 20 cats at a time while doing rescue and TNR. She has an overly amazing Goddaughter named Joella who never ceases to astound her, and the two most incredible (and gorgeous :) nephews on the planet: Robert and Ari. She dedicates her work to those closest to her who keep her going every day. And she wishes to send special love out to el. Thank you for your interest and enjoy the work!

Artist's Statement

"My subconscious was taken away from me at an early age, so I create to try and develop something underneath the extremely high frequency that I am always functioning on. My work explores sadness, its development, and the potential for escape. Many of my figures are robotic, yet, graceful, obese, broken, and trying to fit either invisibly or beautifully into a tall, thin world. As am I. I can’t not create. It is my obsession. Sometimes I create with my mind, but usually it is the work of my eyes and my hands. And I see the potential for art everything. Whether it is a heart-shaped puddle, a straw wrapper or the limb of a plastic skeleton, I know I can turn it into something else. And as I aim to do so, I hope that I too will turn into something better than I was before. I am an “Antevasin” – One who lives between two worlds… Or maybe I live between more than two worlds. I am not from this world. I can’t accept living in a world where people consume animal products and torture each other senselessly. I have been through too much pain to experience any more. My life now is about love, compassion and acceptance. And I find those things through my art. Thank you for your time, which is precious. Ahimsa." -Kerry Vera Lea, 2/2015