John Kelly is a performance and visual artist. His character-driven dance theatre works focus on artists and social outsiders, and the nature of creative genius. His works have received a 2018 NEA Dance Grant, 2 NEA American Masterpieces Awards, 2 Bessie Awards; 2 Obie Awards; a CalArts Alpert Award, and fellowships from The American Academy in Rome, The Radcliffe Institute, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Sundance Theatre Institute, and a 2013 USA Artists Fellowship. In residence in 2018, Kelly completed a graphic novel A Friend Gave Me A Book. He also worked on a new performance Underneath The Skin, based on the life of Samuel Steward (1909-1993), poet, novelist, and university professor who left the world of academia to become a tattoo artist, writer of erotic fiction, and translator of the work of Jean Genet. Steward was also a collaborator with Alfred Kinsey at the Center for Sex Research, a close friend of Gertrude Stein, and lover of the playwright Thornton Wilder.