shelley-anne graham (b.1969) is a mixed media artist based in the seaside town of port elizabeth, south africa.
from moment go, shelley was obsessed with creativity. nothing has changed. school was a dreary affair, spent doodling and staring out windows. choosing to study art was as natural as breathing. she studied at the pe technikon and has an nhdip in fine art, majoring in printmaking. most of her adult career was spent teaching art in cape town and the uk. a noble profession, but not one that was not meant for her. it would take a personal catastrophe to fuel shelley’s decision to change careers. this was to happen on 20 october 2016. on this day, her husband of 18 years died suddenly, leaving her widowed with two young boys in tow.
facing the stark reality of death, motivated shelley to follow her dream of becoming a fulltime artist. this was by no means an easy step, however, sometimes you just know that if you don’t do something you will forever regret it. shelley’s art is a dialogue about facing fear, about beauty and about seizing life. her work is figurative, mostly female. on the whole, the women she paints do not exist. references from various sources are combined to form the final muse. the artwork is a mix of digital and traditional approaches. the end result, highly detailed with a strong decorative element.
in conclusion, a powerfully simple insight that inspires shelley is one by marcel proust, “the real voyage of discovery lies not in seeing new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
artists create, art transports. shelley hopes that her art acts as a passage to another space. a place where you pause for a moment to adjust. sit silently and stare, reset your soul and remind yourself that acceptance and grace are found in small moments and secret places.
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