We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelly Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelly, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My whole life I was drawn to creativity. As a child I was always doodling, drawing, sewing…anything where I could ‘make’ something. Growing up in a small town in Oklahoma that did not have an art program at school, I never knew that was something you ‘do when you grow up’ so I never really thought about it. So I just played with art on the side trying various mediums and projects along the way. I always had the thought in the back of my head that I might want to do it full time, but the ‘starving artist’ title really didn’t appeal to me! It wasn’t until the past two years when my fiancé said he wanted me to stay home and try to make something of my art that I really started focusing on doing it for a career. I was waking up each morning excited to get in my art studio instead of dreading going to work. I found myself craving to get back to it when I wasn’t working on something. I couldn’t learn enough new techniques and put them into practice. I had tons of ideas floating around in my head that I couldn’t get out fast enough. I realized when I started feeling all this that it was what I was supposed to be doing. My passion.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I learned everything I know about art on my own, no formal training. Before we had the internet that just meant looking at art and books and trying to figure out how to do things on my own. I would buy art supplies in the store that looked cool to me but I had no idea how to really use them. So I just played, but I was always afraid I was doing it ‘wrong’. Since the world has gone online it opened a new world for me with YouTube and online art classes. The one thing that really influenced where I am now is the explosion of mixed media art. I never thought about mixing mediums, that you could do pencil, acrylic and collage all in one piece. My mind was blown by this new movement. I couldn’t learn enough and I wanted to try everything! One big thing that had been a hinderance for me to do it seriously was being told by people who do branding is that I need to pick one style to focus on so that I can be more marketable. That is what artists are supposed to do to ‘make it’. I have not been able to do this….I think I would just die inside as an artist if I had to pick one thing to do. That has been a huge roadblock for mentally because I have felt like I was not going to be marketable if I didn’t choose. I felt that my social media accounts were too incohesive to appeal to people. I have really had to force myself to put that aside and do what I love and that is multiple mediums and styles. Right now that is magazine paper collage and also pop art resin layered pieces. These are so different from each other but that’s what I am doing and I am getting a great response from both. So I have really had to get out of my head and realize that there is no right way to go about being an artist. That it is a unique and individual path. I am heavily influenced by nature and the Gulf Coast life, most particularly New Orleans. That is very clear in my magazine paper collages as they often center around food and drink from that area. Everyone who knows me knows my dream is to be an artist in New Orleans one day!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First on the list would be a place that has my heart and where I take everyone from out of town. The Fort Worth Stockyards! We would have a prime rib dinner at Cattleman’s then walk around hitting the various music venues and having a few cold beers. We would probably end up dancing at Cadillac’s. I would also take them on the hiking trails at Eagle Mountain Lake, the views are just fabulous and you will almost always run into a deer or three there. I would make time to take them down to Race Street to visit Born Late Records and have lunch at Tributary Cafe (mouth watering just thinking about it). If they were up for it I would also get in some kayaking at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge working up an appetite for the amazing Heim’s BBQ for dinner later!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When Todd, my fiancé, was telling me he wanted me to stay home and work on my art he said something that just warmed my heart. He said “You know all those artists that you show me on Instagram that you follow and say their art inspires you so much? One day that is going to be you inspiring someone else to do art.” He has been the best cheerleader, provider, assistant and advisor. I never dreamed I’d be able to do this and definitely could not be doing it without him.
I got those good creativity genes from my mom and grandpa. They were always making something themselves and also encouraging creativity in me. My mom still calls every week and asks me what I am working on.
I have an incredible group of friends that are such a huge support and are always helping me network and grow. They continue to blow me away with their encouragement and love!
I really have an amazing tribe of people in my corner that I would not be able to do any of this without. They all each have their special thing that they bring to my life and this endeavor that I am on! I am so blessed and grateful.
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