Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanna Melton.
Shanna, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My mother called me a bedroom artist. I would paint and hide the work behind my dresser. Everyone knew me for being a poet and the art came as a surprise. One day a friend came to visit and it came into my spirit to show him my paintings. He had a pile of them in his lap and walked out of my house with them all. We were headed to a poetry night and he set them up for exhibit. While I argued, it was not enough that I stopped it from happening. I sat in the back of the room and watched as people came in, they celebrated the paintings and offered to show them in other venues. Over time, they took on a life of their own and I followed suit.
Taking my work and placing it in the world was a great gift for me. When I think about it, that is how my poetry got out also. I left a poem at my grandmother’s house that she found and entered into a contest which resulted in my first publication at the age of thirteen. Art has been woven into my life from being inspired and taught by family members through managing my career. It was never something that I considered to be a choice, it is a calling.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create visual art and poetry. I mostly paint on canvas but I also create items like earrings, jewelry boxes, designing book covers and commissioned work. I am also the author of a collection of poems titled “Unraveling My Thoughts” and a performing artist. Most of my work depicts the human experience of love and other emotions, spirituality, connection. All of my work is inspired by humanity. The subtle love languages such as sitting side by side and holding hands to the intense experiences of pain, joy and prayer. I hope people walk away with their hearts a bit more open. One of my goals as a beginning artist was that I could make my surroundings beautiful. That I could get a rush from the colors that surround me that uplift my spirit. My paintings succeed in doing that for me and in sharing my work I would hope that it does the same for others.
How can artists connect with other artists?
The process of creating art of any medium can be lonely. The process of sharing and networking is a necessary act that pushes us into the world. We can mistakenly think that we are in it alone. A different perspective is that we have people who help in our process to be known whether they are exhibiting our work, sharing it on social media, word of mouth or more personal things like calling to motivate us. These people are doing things that make us visible to others and align us with opportunities that we may not have had otherwise.
I encourage everyone to support artists, go to the openings, artist talks, workshops, community events and all else that puts you in alignment with other creatives. Support your peers and they are sure to support you in return. The ones that don’t are not people you want around anyway. Do it to be positive, to make connections and to spread the energy that you want in your events enough that it returns to you. Invest time and energy into your community and it will do the same for you. Be polite and engage with others so they want to know more about your art. Be professional and prepared with business cards and a website so they can learn more about you without having taken it all in at once. Be intentional about being present in the world while maintaining discernment about then to work and invest time in your own self-care. Both are instrumental to your career as an artist.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is exhibited often and available for more opportunities through galleries, art and cultural events, and they complement my work when I have performances. My website is www.PoeticSoulArts.net and that is where you can see my painting process, galleries, links to my poetry and social media in addition to many more aspects of my art. Much of my collection is currently on exhibit at Work_Space, Manchester, CT.
An effort to support my work would range from liking and sharing what I’ve created to inquiring about making a purchase and following through. It is my vision that my work will live as my legacy far beyond my time here and it is best done by having people speak my name and tell others of what I’ve created. I do that for my fellow artists as well as it is mandatory for all of us to be successful.
- Website: www.PoeticSoulArts.net
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: shatamel
- Facebook: PoeticSoulArts
- Twitter: shatamel
Shanna T. Melton