Meet the Keli Lucas, AKA Miss Kelly Cohen: a versatile and talented New York-based classically trained, yet modern painter, art exhibition curator, fashion stylist, poet, musician and film producer. Her work, no matter what medium she choses, can only be described as nothing short of sheer genius. She balances the opposing forces to dig deeper into the meaning of “infinity” at the same time as letting go of the past and future in order to be completely present. This is the reoccurring essence that she shows in her work. It’s about the constant strive to be the best you could be and be as present and in the moment as possible, rather than getting caught up with the past or worrying about the future. Her paintings usually feature oil paint and realism; her specialty. However, lately Keli has been experimenting with abstract art and acrylic paint, along with a medley of unusual materials for a daring mixed media style. Keli’s exceptional approach to art, with her interesting choice of materials and flare, is a pleasure to observe. She is an artist who does not fear change or modernism. She also is one of the best illustrators that I’ve personally ever observed: she  basically thinks of the drawings as sculptures and understands how to pay great attention to detail when it comes to shaping and carving her images. In the art, music and fashion fields, Kelly Cohen goes by the name of “Keli-Lucas”, which she has turned into her artistic alter ego. Kel was originally an abbreviation of Raquel and as a kid her mom would to sing to her, “Kelilucas, Kelilucas in my soup, in my soup,” and from there, everyone started calling her Keli and Keli Lucas when they were being cute. And just like that: it stuck!

“I’m from a tight-nit community of religious people that continue all their traditions for generations and as a result of that, are extremely “old-school” and obsolete in their ways of thinking. My community thinks of women’s’ main purpose of life is to be a “shatra,” which in Arabic means “cooker, cleaner, and raiser of offspring,” and I for one do not want my character to be limited to only this purpose in life. My goal behind my art is to inspire and give a general voice to women who have dreams and aspirations that they never thought they could achieve as a female. I don’t just create to be a known creator, I create because from a child, I knew I had to make a difference and be an example of a powerful female who can make it on her own instead of just becoming a mom and calling it a day.”

                                                                                                                                           -Kelly Cohen

Keli Lucas 1The effort and time that Keli puts into every one of her paintings is unbelievable. She has a full mind of ideas and self-expressions like no other. She is so creative, talented and blessed with an eye for beauty. Lucas is an artist in every sense of the word. Kelly attended SVA (School of Visual Arts)for a Batchelor in Fine Arts degree, majoring in Fine/Studio Arts, where she honed her skills and knowledge of painting and figure drawing. Miss Cohen is an artistic professional, experienced in working in a fast paced and detail oriented environment. She is extremely driven and motivated in creating and using an artistic eye in all that she sets her mind to. She is a true team player with a wide range of clientele ready to grow and expand her career. She excels in collaborations in all fields that she dabbles in: from painting, to fashion, to music and more. Keli Lucas is also Art Director and Co-Owner of Warning Arts: an Art, Fashion and Music Production company started in 2014. Raquel is correspondingly a freelance Production Stylist and Fashion Assistant, working on dozens of photo shoots, music videos and other projects relating to artistic  fashion and design. She’s been styling and assisting in shoots such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and V Magazine as well as personal shopping at the trendy and hip Topshop/Topman for years.

Keli Lucas 6Kelly has recently been honored to do a live performance of painting a portrait of the credible and acclaimed artist and sculptor, @ManOfWire the other night at the penthouse art exhibition, Art After Dark, where she painted in front of hundreds of the chic New York guests and photographed by the infamous Liam McMullen. She also has been used by companies for marketing their brands: this year, Kelly commissioned an oil painting of the character, Mugatu from Zoolander, the movie series. The one of a kind piece was specifically made for a Will Ferrell themed bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan called “Stay Classy, New York”. The space is completely covered in Will Ferrell themed art. Drinks served are named after a slew of the comedian’s legendary punch lines from all of his movies. This painting became the bar’s center piece of their art collection and would eventually also play a large roll in the bar’s image and brand. The Mugatu painting gained a lot of attention on social media along with legitimate press like BuzzFeed, Maxim and other news publications that were making the painting the focal point and the face of the growingly popular business. Kelly’s unique approach to art is a pleasure to look at and this is due to the fact that her work is usually constructed by an impressive abundance of layers, depth and attention to detail for every painting or fashion style that she puts together. It’s almost poetic to see just how many concepts and elements she brings together in order to extract the true beauty out of whatever she is designing or creating.

The contemporary art world is vibrant and booming like never before and it’s a twenty-first century phenomenon, a global industry in its own right. Contemporary Artists seek the power to astonish, challenge and surprise: the legend of Kelly Cohen’s art work achieves all of these things. She showcases art that the public may not ordinarily have access to outside of a large urban environment within a welcoming, creative, and inspirational platform She is as much a skilled professional as a truly unforgettable and capable human being. She is a real Artist of not only paint but of fashion, design, innovation, lifestyle and artistic interpretation. As time goes on Miss Kelly will continue to delve deeper into the beautiful world of fashion and art by utilizing a wide range of mediums and taking an intimate approach to art direction and design. She will continue to build her brand and develop more designs, film, music and artwork. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what she does next because mark my words: Keli Lucas is going places!

For booking inquiries or collaborations, email:


Follow @Kelilucas and @WarningArts on Instagram

and Facebook

Keli’s work will be showcased at two upcoming New York premier art events, June 30th, Conception, at M1-5 Lounge in Tribeca and July 20th, RAW artists presents Reveal at the Melrose Ballroom where Keli will be painting her compelling portraits LIVE!

Discounted tickets for both Conception and RAW artist are currently available, follow the provided active links.

Conception, June 30th

RAW artists (LIVE portrait painting by Keli and exhibition) July 20th

About The Author

Sara Nardea is no stranger to the art world, selling her own paintings and curating exhibitions -- from pop art to abstraction and now to art journalism, she is bringing her New York success to the up-and-coming Miami scene. Sara is now a contributing writer and editor at L'Etage Magazine.

Related Posts