"Always crashing in the same car" is a lyric from a David Bowie song it speaks to me of the on going aftermath of someone dying to young. This photograph was taken by Michael's uncle Charley Kelley an artist himself who passed away before his time. Having gained Michael's family parents and three siblings as friends after the fact I felt impelled to create this webpage marking there son's memory.

Joe Lewis  September 17 2010

Michael Kelley

February 10, 1961-December 29, 1987  



Artist, Printmaker, Painter


Summer Pound , Etching, 18 X 24 inches 1984

 Michael Kelley: an Appreciation

 By Jennifer Dickson RA

These words are a Tribute from one artist to another. Tragically Michael Kelley died before he had had the time to reach his full potential as an artist: but the potential was impressive.

I met Michael first in 1986 when he was an assistant to Simon Dresdnere and Judy Scolnik at Gallerie Dresdnere in Toronto . I was bringing my portfolio of etchings of water gardens to show Simone and Judy, Michael was there. We met. His response to my work was extraordinary, finally I had met a fellow artist who understood without any verbal dialogue exactly what is was I was attempting to communicate.

 I shouldn’t have been surprised. In time I got to know both Michael and his work better. He was a born printmaker with an intuitive understanding of the more profound possibilities of the medium. This was coupled with great painterly aptitude, a feeling for spontaneity and gesture, and a brilliant understanding of colour. In Michael’s work colour was never a mindless indulgence: it was used analytically and sparingly to great aesthetic effect.

As a person, Michael had an enormous integrity. He lived on many levels of sensibility.  His thoughtfulness towards his friends continued even when he was totally debilitated in the final phase of his terminal illness. He is an example to all of us of the triumph of the spirit over the fragility of the body.

Hanging in my home is an etching by Michael Kelley of a summer pound: a gift from his parents there is a sense of light flickering over water, water which is complex and moving on many levels. It seems to me symbolic of Michael bout aesthetically, and personally.

 Michael’s life touched so many people in different and profound ways. We will continue to be illuminated by his intelligence, and his grace 

Jennifer Dickson RA  4th September 1989  





 Images on this page are from installation photographs of a Memorial Exhibition held at the Nickel Museum at the University of Calgary in the fall of 1988. They are representative of the prevailing themes in his work of nature, self and sexuality 




Winter Reflections, Etching, 18 X 24 inches 1984


Summer Pound , Etching, 18 X 24 inches 1984


 Human Experience




Hard Pillows


Early Evening


Changing Lines




  Image of the inatalation at the Nickol Museum in Calgary Alberta, Canada Nickel Museum at the University of Calgary in the fall of 1988  

 portrait of Joe (lewis)1985, dry point etching



death comes in it doesn’t say hello it stops and will not go

death comes in see it in you eyes and feel it on your skin

death comes in I taste it on your lips your  ass your cock your tits

death comes in just like its always been but different then before

I try to love you more you think you’ve closed the door

death comes in we’ve heard of him and him the names we here we know we close our eyes and wish it to go

death comes in

I scream so I cannot here the voices lost in tears the stopping of the years the raging of my fears

death comes in death comes in

why is it you instead of him he who is gone from the words of my song that’s crazy I can not wish him wrong

death comes in death comes in death comes in

I hold you in my arms refuse to acknowledge harm

death comes in death comes in death comes in

with your breath weak your brain on fire i fight  my rage my pain my desire

death comes in what god has caused this sin who can have faith in him why did it all begin death comes in  

"Death Draws Near"  is from And I Do Sing
And I Do Sing 
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Lewis, Joe
And I Do Sing / Joe Lewis.
ISBN 978-0-9809633-0-4
Made in Canada,
Published by Velvet Highway ink
283 Danforth Avenue, PO Box 637, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4K 1N2
Email joelewis@velvethighway.com Website www.velvethighway.com 

AND I DO SING was a self published poetry chap book produced in 1990 by joelewis performance poet and artist. The fist printing of 150 sold out and was quickly followed by a second run of 500. This printing was followed by a series of readings in Calgary, Peterborough and Toronto.

Following a late ninetieth century genre know as “Pathetic Song” which in ballad form told stories of death and destruction by industrial disasters such as mine cave ins and the death of Children from epidemics the tradition lost its populist appeal with the rise of songs from Tin Pan Alley and Radio. There was a resurgent during the 1930’s commemorating the depression and lives on as a sub category in “Folk” music.  

This version has been produced in conjunction with the creation of a memorial website marking the 20th anniversary of the passing of Thomas Michael Kelley

What others have said about AND I DO SING

"But finally, with the closing poem Really I Forgot, the sum of the poet’s collected parts - whether they exist in twelve poems or over a prolonged period of a profoundly unwelcome awareness of mortality – they rise up out of this extended elegiac refrain, as it soothes us, frightens us, and teaches us to survive through the presence of memory." David Bateman Phd. from introduction to the 2009 reissue of AND I DO SING

“Reflecting on the rage of having a lover torn away, Lewis envisions all tomorrow’s parties ended. A personal snapshot of the AIDs epidemic of the 1980s, And I Do Sing expresses the visceral intensity evoked by the loss of a lover, journeying forward to re-embrace life and memory. “

Catherine Jenkins has written two books, a poetry collection blood, love & boomerangs and a novel Swimming in the Ocean,

“Like the very best rock songs that refuse to stop playing in your mind, the poems in And I Do Sing are powerfully musical and fiercely intelligent. They are helpless, tender, sometimes funny and lit by a rage akin to prayer. Lewis sings not just for himself but for all who have lost someone important for all the wrong reasons.” 

Ursula Pflug http://ursulapflug.ca/index.htm

Ursula Pflug is author of the novel Green Music and the story collection After The Fires


 joeBroadview.jpg (253378 bytes)

photo of Joe Lewis by Jake Bacon taken at Broadview Gallery, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada during 1988 reading from "And I Do Sing "

This page was built in December 2008 by Joe Lewis to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing in Calgary Alberta Canada

this is a hand made webpage by weaver writer artist joelewis

© 2010 joe lewis