5Qs With: Terry & Belinda Kilby, Elevated Element
It’s the ultimate plot to a romantic comedy: a childhood friendship that blossoms into adulthood. Years of “just being friends” go by, until one day, he finally asks her out -and not just to dinner, no, but to a mutual friend’s wedding. That’s the part in the movie, with the popcorn bowl in one hand and a glass (or the bottle) of wine in the other, you’re certain it’s “happily ever after.”
In the case of Terry and Belinda Kilby’s love story, you can add a couple of things. Like the couple of times they went out to lunch, how Belinda used to work at restaurant joints owned by Terry and his family, and even the fact that techie Terry happened to attract artsy Belinda with his electronic dance music creations and his skills as a bass and drum producer.
“That was when I was in college on the Eastern Shore and he showed up in Ocean City performing as a DJ,” Belinda said.
“I actually went and saw Terry perform his beats,” she recalled, “And we kept in touch that way.”
As Terry puts it, their relationship is a “romantic comedy in writing.”
But you know a couple is truly committed when they become business partners. As the founders of Elevated Element, an aerial photography and tech company, this husband-and-wife team is among the country’s first drone (or ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ aka UAV’s) artists.
It was in 2013, after an exhibition of their drone photography at Baltimore’s World Trade Center, downtown, and some press in The Baltimore Sun, that helped convince Belinda, a former Baltimore City art teacher, to go full-time in their UAV business. And just last year, with the solid projects continuing to roll in, Terry was able to leave his software engineering job to join his wife in focusing solely on Elevated Element. They’ve since made appearances on WYPR, MPT and even CBS. And they’ve even released a book filled with their photographs taken by their drones, called Drone Art: Baltimore. A first in its kind of photography shot entirely by civilian drone technology.
“It’s still a leap of faith,” Belinda said. “It’s very exciting, but still a bit scary.”
So what is this drone technology art that’s blossomed from the union of these Aberdeen natives? On the theme of ROBOT, that’s what they will be explaining at the next CreativeMornings Baltimore talk at Baltimore School for the Arts, this Friday.
We caught the couple enjoying a break between a day’s worth of meetings, at Dooby’s. Their lunch of choice included a portabella sandwich with a side of gazpacho for Belinda, and a Korean barbecue steak sandwich for Terry. After the bite to eat, they met with us outside to tell us more about their drone-flying team.
Here’s our 5Qs With.