Young Guns 16: Kelsey McClellan

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Nov 01, 2018

Showcasing the incredible winners of Young Guns 16

After months of decisions, discussions and debate, The One Club For Creativity is thrilled to unveil the winners of Young Guns 16! These 30 art directors, illustrators, filmmakers, photographers and designers of all types stood above all in this career-making, globe-spanning portfolio-based competition.

Ahead of the Young Guns 16 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 15, we are shining a spotlight on the various superstars who will be honored that evening.

Kelsey McClellan
San Francisco, CA



What does winning this award mean to you? 

Winning this award is very exciting and very unexpected. I’d heard of Young Guns but only from my friends that are graphic designers — I didn’t really think it was something photographers were recognized for. 

It’s not easy to be a successful creative. What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today? 

I’ve found it very hard to stay financially stable, while paying off student loans and living in San Francisco, so I’ve always had a day job for a steady paycheck. Taking on a full-time day job means less time creating work I really love and enjoy doing, which is personal work with my styling partner, Michelle Maguire! It does make it all the more sweet when we DO get time to be together and make what we want to make (and living 3,000 miles apart doesn’t help, either! We wish for a teleport machine everyday).

How did you decide what to enter into Young Guns? Was it a challenge to curate yourself?

I think I am constantly curating myself either through my website or even just on instagram, so it wasn’t too hard to pick what I felt was my strongest work.

Can you name any past Young Guns winners who you look up to, whose work you admire or are even inspired by?

Yes! Cait Oppermann (YG15). I had no idea she won last year and have been a big fan of her work for a couple of years now.

What keeps you going, creatively speaking?

I’m constantly inspired by the world observed around me - my neighborhood and the shapes of topiaries, the way a stranger sits down to a meal alone, colors of faded, pastel buildings. I’m driven to recreate just an ounce of the moments in the world that make me gasp a little before I continue on my day.

Now that you’re a Young Guns winner, what’s next?

I’d love to only be working freelance and finally kiss my day job gooooooooodbye!

The Young Guns 16 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 15 in New York City. 





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