Shelby Little is a figurative painter from New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in 2009 and received her BFA from the University of New Orleans in 2014. She has been an artist-in-residence at Azule in Hot Springs, North Carolina and will be attending an artist residency at Arteles Creative Center in Haukijärvi, Finland this summer.
Her paintings are vibrant and textural; using acrylic paint, oil paint, gold leaf, and sometimes glitter to create sharp contrast against brightly lit skies. Little’s work seeks to investigate the human experience and after-life. She attempts to connect the dots between personal memories, dreams, and mythology in the stories her paintings tell. She relies on personal photographs as source material, mainly of friends, family, and meaningful locations to create her surreal portraits.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Intimate, Surreal, Detailed
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I’m influenced by the people and the natural environment around me, I want my paintings to feel like New Orleans by including familiar flowers, sharp shadows, and vibrant colors.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I collect ideas, sketches, and photos that I constantly refer back to while working. I will often have an idea for a while before I start a painting. Sometimes I’ll start and finish multiple paintings in one day. Some paintings I’ll work on for months before I feel that they're finished.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from all around me. The people that I love, flowers, costumes, sunsets, nature, brightly painted buildings, other painters, and old family photos.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Henri Rousseau, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kerry James Marshall, Ingres, Marcia Marcus, and the Bay Area painters.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
My studio is in my backyard so I’m almost always home. If I’m not making art I’m working on the house, playing with the outside kitty, or cooking.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment. Other works can be found at www.shelbylittle.com.