Shelley is possibly one of the brightest people you could meet. Her vibe shines as bright as the studio she’s in, sitting 2nd story of her parents place overlooking the water in the back bay, and it’s by FAR the coolest fucking set up. The main thing that I’ve loved about working on this magazine, interviewing, meeting people and having conversation about perspective, style, art and life, is how vast and original each artist’s personal take is. The coolest part that goes along with that is there’s always an underlying motive with each, it’s happiness (hand me the cheeseball award but that’s it in the truest sense). There’s no materialism, there’s no image, there’s no champagne shower, it’s the genuinality of the individuals heart behind each projects. And I think that is the shit.
Shelley sells nothing short of the complete embodiment of that message. Every piece she’s made come from a different understanding of her own life, allowing her to get more in touch with it unknowingly… not to mention that they all fucking rip. Her studio is dressed in her canvases covered in these stories. She’s working on the next one as we jump in, and there couldn’t be a better way to see her in her own element than on that day. She’s welcoming, we don’t let her shut off her music or what she’s doing, and we ask about how she found this ability she thrives on. The story that comes along with it is so inspiring and it was over simply a lighthearted conversation.
We kick it off by laughing about how hard she annotates her catalogue of books. It’s like Staples has been sold out for the past year with how many post it notes are in these fuckers. Each book is about spirituality, love, longevity, finding yourself, and how true the impression of energy leaves. A really sick one Shelley just read was a book from the Tao belief on breath. It talks about how important good air and the negative ions it possesses that aid a human’s mental state in the simplest sense. It compares the days of a cubicle worker to a manual laboring farmer. The cubicle worker has day job at a desk for 8 hours, goes home and is completely exhausted. The farmer conducts hard labor outside the entire day and experiences a different feeling at the end of the day. Shelley sees that and finds inspiration. Her paintbrush carries down her canvas making the piece of silk she’s painting come to life.
“This is gonna sound so lame, but energy… that stack of books over there that I annotated the shit out of hahaha, everything I’m drawn to has to do with understanding energy… and fabric reminds me of that.”
The most rad painting of a motorcycle rider is laying propped against her mirror next to us. She begins about how that’s a piece she did of her dad, who passed away in a biking accident on Ortega highway when she was 14 years old.
“It’s so interesting, because I think in high school… it’s so hard for you to process that being a kid you know, but I felt like I got through it and processed all the grief and emotion but it wasn’t until I painted this painting that I truly got through it, which was this year! I was like wow… like I’m so cathartic in the sense that I felt very connected to him at the time I was painting that.”
*The most content and genuine grin reaches each cheek*
After rescinding all of her applications to art schools out of high school, Shelley went on to go down the path as a big business woman. She went to University of Washington and studied in the business school, later transferring to USC to be in the accounting school… right, she’s one smart cookie. Her hand didn’t hold a paintbrush for 5 years during this period of time. Deloit was where she took her skills in auditing, a completely different world to what she surrounds herself with now,
She has me swivel my chair around to this painting that’s sitting behind me against the wall. The prettiest colors (why do people in Australia spell it “colours”?…ADHD) with two people playing chess, both looking as good as Shelley… to my surprise, they both were.
“So this is part of a series of aboooouuttt 12? I’m not really too sure yet haha, but the series shines light on the duality between your conscious self and your ego. So this one here, I titled ‘Mind Games’. It’s pretty much about me deciding to quit my job and at the same time asking questions to see 10 steps ahead in the future… ‘Well where do I see myself, I wanna be financially stable but like, am I happy?’. That’s what I think ultimately a lot of the paintings in this series will have to deal with… battling your ego and the expectations people have of you.”
Deloit and her terrible desk job can eat it, Shelley takes off with her brushes. Commissions come early and help let Shelley run, here she is 2 years later, in an element that offers nothing but inspiration and creativity. Shelley does some unbelievable paintings of the female physique as well. We ask if it’s because she thinks the male genitalia is not as aesthetically pleasing, she assures us that it’s not the reason and she thinks they’re beautiful… thanks Shelley, just saved me from buying the Manscaped LawnMower I keep fucking seeing. Her reasoning behind those pieces is actually beautiful.
“These paintings, I did, right after I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, and I kind of felt like I lost control of my body, like it was kind of taken away from me. In order to kind of take control back, I would do these meditations, these naked meditations, and just dance in front of the mirror! Just sit there and dance and fucking feel myself! That’s where these paintings came from, I was just trying to take control of my body, and yeah!”
She gravitates towards Chloe Wise, who has some sick concepts on what we perceive as constructive normalcy. For instance when you get in an elevator, why is it not normal to look someone in the eyes and be like, “Hey!”. Everyone looks down! It’s bizarre, Chloe exposes it and we got turned onto her through Shelley so again… Thanks.
Shelley’s favorite artist right now is Amy Winehouse, she’ll choose a good IPA (Longboard) over a white claw 10 times out of 10, is a coffee feign, ready to extend her series to naked men as well (send in your application, we submitted ours), her favorite flower is a peony, and we don’t see her stop smiling this entire time.
There’s something to be said about people like Shelley. True beauty isn’t physical, when you can live your life with minimal stress, do what you love and wake up excited because you get to do what you love. There isn’t the clearest picture monetarily but you’re living your life as a happy person. It brings you back to the fountain of youth and it’s nothing but pure bliss. That is true beauty.