meet shelby

Shelby Little is an artist from New Orleans living in Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) in 2009. After studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) in Boston for a year and spending an exchange semester at Queens College in New York, Shelby returned home where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans in 2014. She moved to Athens, Georgia in May 2022 where she now lives and works. Shelby has exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, is a member of Where Y'Art Works, and is represented by Spalding Nix Fine Art in Atlanta, GA. She has been an artist-in-residence at Azule in Hot Springs, North Carolina and at Nocefresca in Sardinia, Italy.

artist statement

I think of painting as a form of visual storytelling; there is a hidden narrative that unfolds throughout my process. As I paint, I weave together inspiration from memories, dreams, and my surroundings to create my own mythos, allowing my characters to reveal themselves at their own pace.

My visual source material is often a combination of personal photos, along with sourced images of ancient sculptures and relics. I’m drawn to bold colors and sharp contrast. I use a variety of materials, including colored pencils, watercolors, gold leaf, and oil paint, to create work that is vibrant and textural.

I’m interested in the cyclical nature of time, mortality, the afterlife, the thin line between order and chaos, and the seemingly inherent duality in all things. I’ve found the characters in the nearly endless versions of Greco-Roman myths the perfect reference point for creating paintings that reflect these themes. The personal nature of my paintings pulls the viewer in, while the otherworldly quality of my pieces gives them both a feeling of cheerful imagination with an underlying darkness..

photo by Stefano Conti