Artist Spotlight: Eighteen32

By Morgan Ray, DVI Intern


We talked with Mitch Kelly, owner of Eighteen32 and a new Art Walk artist, about him and his work with leather.

1. How long have you been participating in Art Walk?

Photos provided by Mitch Kelly

The May 2016 Art Walk was my first time participating as a vendor. It was a great night and I had a blast interacting with everyone throughout the night. I plan on setting up many more times. The crowd is great and it’s one of my favorite events I’ve been a part of so far.

 2. What do you enjoy most about Art Walk?

I’d say, as a new vendor and as someone who has attended over the years, it is nice that Art Walk changes themes throughout the year. It keeps it interesting when the theme changes, whether it be Spark Walk, Oktoberfest or the upcoming Bold City Brewery Summer Release Party.

 3. What drew you to working with leather and canvas goods?

My background is in graphic design, and while I have worked at some great companies, I was also reaching my limit of sitting behind a desk for most of my work day, and had a growing desire to be self-employed. I had a growing interest in leatherwork and at one point I had a leather sleeve that I kept my cell phone in and I lost it. I was in the process of ordering another one when I realized that I should just try and make my own. Not long after that I started making leather cell phone sleeves and cardholder wallets. They weren’t pretty in the beginning, but I had some good friends that motivated me.

 4. What do you find yourself creating the most? And what is your favorite?

Leather cardholder wallets are what I make the most of. They are basically what got me started with leatherworking, so they will always be a huge part of what I’m doing. Lately, though, I’ve started making bags. Most recently I’ve started making leather tote bags and leather satchels. Currently I have a leather duffel bag in the works and backpacks are right around the corner.

5. Do you work with any other mediums?

I still do freelance graphic design from time to time, so I’m doing some work on the computer, but I’m getting back into illustration to start applying more to my products. I’ve been screen printing for a while now, as well, so I’ll be applying that to more projects in the future.

6. Where can people find your work?

The only brick and mortar location to currently find my work is Vagabond Coffee in Murray Hill. We’ve got some products for sale up there and some custom work on display. The espresso machine that you see when you first walk in was a fun project that I worked on with the owner, Will Morgan. The front is wrapped in leather and stamped with the Vagabond logo. My work can also be found online at

7. What do you do in your free time?

When I can find free time I like to travel. I’m a huge fan of hiking and camping. I’ve recently been on some trips out to the midwest road tripping between some of the national parks and I’m planning a trip up to some state parks and forests on the east coast. Basically if I find free time I get the heck out of the house.

8. Do you have any advice or suggestions for those looking to get involved with leather or canvas goods?

Google, Youtube and Amazon are indispensable when getting started. We are lucky enough to be around in the information age and pretty much everything you’d need to know can be found online now. Just do some quick research and you’ll find some of the bare necessity tools and supplies you will need to get started. Don’t go overboard right off the bat, as things can get pricey pretty quickly.

Make sure to stop by June 1- 150 Bold Art Walk to check out Mitch’s work! You can also find him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.