Artist Spotlight + Inside the Artist Studio of Shelby Little

Intimate, Surreal, Detailed.

Those are the three words Shelby Little chose to describe her work. Shelby is a native New Orleanian, a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and she received her BFA from The University of New Orleans. In addition to painting, she collaborates with fellow Where Y’Artist Maddie Stratton on Pop Up Drawing Twins. Get to know Shelby in the following Q&A and head to her Artist Profile to explore her collection!

“Selfie at Mrs. Jupiter’s Bachelorette” – Click image for direct link to this piece on her Artist Profile!

Describe yourself in one word. Intuitive

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 natural environment of the southeast, I want my paintings to feel like New Orleans by subtly 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 they’re finished.

Work in progress.

Where do you draw inspiration? I draw inspiration from all around me. The people that I love, the south, women, nature, logos, brightly painted buildings, other painters, my Instagram screen caps, and old family photos.

Who are your artistic influences or gurus? Henri Rousseau, Gauguin, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kerry James Marshall, Ingres, Marcia Marcus, the Bay Area painters

Maddie Stratton and Shelby Little, the “Pop Up Drawing Twins”

In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work? I listen to whatever keeps me awake and interested in the studio. Mainly the radio, so a mixture of WWNO and Q93.

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, bothering my cat, cooking, or talking to my plants in attempt to help them grow.

See Shelby’s work in person at the Where Y’Art Gallery on 1901 Royal, across from R Bar. “Detangled” was selected as part of “Art of Flavor” Part Two, curated by Nina Compton and Abigail Gullo. You can view the rest of Shelby’s collection and read her bio on her Artist Profile!