Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Kelly O'Neill, 2000 Feb 15

Oral history interview with Kelly O'Neill, 2000 Feb 15

O'Neill, Kelly

Artists' model


Collection Information

Size: Transcript: 27 p.

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 2 min.

Summary: An interview of Kelly O'Neill conducted 2000 Feb. 15, by Paul Karlstrom for the Archives of American Art, in O'Neill's home and studio, Los Angeles, Calif.

O'Neill discussed her early experiences as a model. She drew an important distinction between private sessions and classroom work. Considerable attention was paid to her experience with one artist in Sacramento who became attached to her as subject/object. She reflected on what that means for the model and the complex motives that come into play in such situations. Finally, she spoke of her experience posing for Sam Clayberger and the lessons she takes away for her own art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kelly O'Neill was an artist's model from Los Angeles, Calif. O'Neill is an art student at California State University, Los Angeles. After a brief modeling career in Sacramento, she moved to San Francisco and then to Los Angeles. She resumed her artists' modeling work when invited to pose by Samuel Clayberger.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators. Funding for the transcription of this Artists and Model series interview provided by Bente and Gerald E. Buck Collection.


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

How to Use This Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Kelly O'Neill, 2000 Feb 15. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.