Member artist Shelby Dillon wants her art to inspire joy in viewers. Shelby believes a painting starts with her but the real story begins once it finds its home resting place. New to St Petersburg, Shelby came to St. Petersburg to exhibit in the yearly Mainsail Art Show, and fell in love with the city. Her current preferred subjects are the sky and water, while her medium is acrylic paints. Shelby's studio is located on the ArtsXchange campus in the converted strip center across the parking lot from the AX and Softwater Studios. Stop by and you will recognize her by her colorful landscape paintings. We asked Shelby about her art and inspiration.
How long have you been an artist?
I have been painting for 12 years. I am predominantly self-taught and before that, I was a finance major.
What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?
I use acrylic on wood panels. Having lived on 4 different continents has had a huge influence on me. Formerly, I was an oil painter but during our move from Singapore to Brazil, I found it difficult to find the art supplies that I preferred. For instance, they only have straight turpentine or kerosene to clean brushes in Brazil, and the fumes were just awful! Also, acrylic paints are much more travel friendly. Every trip back to the states during those days I would stock up on paint supplies because they are so much cheaper in the US. My husband got used to lugging a 70-pound tub of supplies through airports.
What inspires your art?
Right now, I am most influenced by water and skies. When we lived in North Carolina, it felt like we lived in a forest because of all of the tall pine trees and now I notice the sky so much more.
Are you a St. Petersburg native? How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists?
I grew up on Hilton Head Island around the marshes and low country. As a newcomer to St. Petersburg, the arts community is a huge part of the reason we decided to move here. I was accepted to show at the Mainsail Art Show and fell in love with the city. I look forward to showing in the 2021 Mainsail show.
Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?
An artist all alone in their studio all day every day becomes a crazy person! We work better together if we lift each other up and view other artists as our community rather than our competitors. The more people the better for the community and more art brings in more people to buy art. I am looking forward to future networking events and getting involved since I am new to the area.
Anything else that you would like for us to know about you and your art?
I hope my art brings people joy. The journey of a piece of art simply starts with me. But the real story begins once it is in its new home and enjoyed every day.
Also, I am very passionate about artists knowing what's possible in the arts industry and realizing that art can be a full-time pursuit. There are living artists making a very comfortable living and it's not happening only in New York and San Francisco. I love seeing other artists realize their full potential. The best advice that I have to give is to invest in the right teachers and mentors. I think the first person that made me realize that I could paint as a career was Karin Jurick and Carol Marine of the Daily Painters Movement. I have also learned a great deal about self-promoting. On the other hand, art doesn't have to be a business. You can enjoy it as a hobby. Not everything has to be monetized, meaning if you just want to paint for yourself or friends and you are bringing more joy into the world and that's a good thing!
Is there anything in particular that you would like to promote?
Besides my website and Instagram listed below, every Tuesday at noon I hold a virtual paint-along on Facebook. If you email me at email@example.com, I will send you the link to join the session. During the paint-along, I go over the fundamentals of acrylics, painting design and composition. www.shelbydillonstudio.com , @shelbydillonstudio