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Artist Spotlight: Shelby Monteverde

We’re so excited to be back this week with another artist spotlight! Shelby Monteverde is a fine artist based out of Memphis, Tennessee. Art has lived in Shelby forever and she, now, paints full time. She believes we all should find joy in the mundane. 

“Whether you’re overwhelmed with to-do lists or feeling out of control and anxious, she wants her paintings to offer healing by grounding you back down into the present moment.”

What’s your creative specialty? 


How did you start?

I believe I've always been an artist, but have had to grow into it and accept it as my career/calling through trial and error. I tried other "more acceptable/consistent" things, none of those other things worked. So I started how many artists do.. passively through the pet portrait portal in college, continuing down that commission-driven road post-college until my soul couldn't take it anymore. I remember complaining constantly to my husband. I'd paint him very vivid metaphors (not literally, maybe that would've been helpful though, haha) of how my artist child was drowning, trying to come up for air, but something had my foot pulling me under, and I just wanted to break through the surface. Much drama. Even if something is perfectly right and good and providing for a season, it's vital to keep moving forward in trust. It can be so scary to walk in the unknown and ever-changing path set before you, but it can be even scarier (and painful) to try to stay in something that was only meant for a season. The short answer: pet portraits.

How do you gain/gather inspiration? What do you do to get recharged?

I gather my inspiration everywhere, often in the least suspected places. Mostly, I get my creative energy from interacting with the world around me and being present on my specific day. I love to flip through magazines, walk through Anthropologie (try not to buy something every time ugh), look through pretty art/design books, and even scroll through Instagram or Pinterest I find the best pictures that influence my work. Food, clothes, patterns, sunlight, reading, observing people and places and animals, color color color, always. Inspiration really is everywhere if we'd pay attention. It stresses me out a little, how absolutely chaotic my camera roll is on my iPhone.. but it's so awesome, that I can snap a picture right then and there when my gut says, "Must take a photo now. You will thank me later."

It does seem like inspiration and recharging go hand in hand. The best way I've learned to rest is by doing nothing. Trusting that God's got this moment and every moment after that, so I can stop thinking for about two seconds and watch how the world doesn't fall apart. It feels cliche to say, but spending time outside is my favorite way to recharge. It's so nice to get alone and quiet and listen to the natural world around me. 

What’s your favorite thing about creating?

My absolute favorite thing about creating is getting totally consumed by a painting, losing all sense of time and struggle and to-dos. It doesn't always come easy or on command, but often as I get further into a painting my brain gets quiet and slow, and all of a sudden I'm painting out of my heart's desire. Yes, my hand is moving, but it's my heart that is speaking, and it's the Great Creator that has officially taken over on this-that's why I show up to the easel. 

What advice would you give your younger creative self? 

Gosh, so many things.. as you can see I'm long-winded when it comes to writing, so I'll try to keep it brief. 

Paint what you want, don't worry about everybody else.

Check out Shelby’s work on her website and instagram and tell her thanks for sharing her story with us!

Stay tuned for more artist spotlights in the coming weeks! Be sure to sign up for our texts so you don’t miss an opportunity to learn about some awesome artists who inspire us! Text AEBLOG to 855-850-2937.

(Photographer: Stefanie Rawlinson, IG)