In the many years since I have been an artist, my number one comment is “I can’t draw a stick figure”. This inspired me to create a painting based on that idea. My first memory of art was coloring and drawing at age 7. Over my elementary and middle school education, I always took art. I couldn’t get enough of it, but alas, my mother was not as big a fan of my creativity. She was, and is, a bit of a clean freak, and was always concerned about the mess. So growing up as a repressed artist, when it came time for me to decide on my life’s path, or at least education, I chose to attend a trade school, and earned an AS in Commercial Art.
This was a wonderful experience, since I not only was around my own kind, I was learning art every day, and learning something that could earn me a living. After I graduated, I hesitate to tell you how long ago, but suffice it to say Madonna was breaking in on the scene, my family moved to Denver, close to where I was born and I began to freelance in graphic art. Fortunately, I met a designer friend who was ultimately moving away, and agreed to give me some of her clients if I got a computer (read Mac) and Pagemaker, the state-of-the-art desktop publishing program at the time. My Mac had a screen about 10” across, and was in black and white. I started picking up menu jobs, and logo jobs, my favorite.
As far as fine art went, I would paint in my parent’s basement. I created a poster scene of downtown Denver which I later printed and sold in stores. During the next years, I joined a group in Denver called the Open Press. It was amazing, since I could use their monotype printing machines and produce art prints myself. I, again, met my peeps. I made some nice friends and joined their art exhibits.
As a professional graphic designer, I had hit a wall. Ultimately, I wanted more education and went back to college and got my BA in Communications and Oral Theatre at the University of Colorado at Denver. Later, I went to work for Twins Magazine as a marketing coordinator, and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as a graphic designer. I worked with Celestial Seasonings on their packaging design and even Ernst & Young LLP in marketing. All the while, I would continue to paint.
My painting career ran parallel to my “real job” career. I would use any opportunity to show my work, having a solo exhibit in restaurants, and even the exhibit cases at the newspaper building. I would design products, and tested a couple, selling a good amount of “Caroma” car potpourri at convenience stores. The entrepreneurial spirit was gaining a foothold.
In 1995 I met my future husband, and got married. We had a son, and my creative side became geared more towards crayons, until we had our daughter in 2001. We moved from Denver to Knoxville, Tennessee and I experimented with a mural in my bedroom. and onto the ceiling, and birdies flying in the dining room. It was amazing, and FUN. But my wandering ways were to take us to Orlando, and closer to my newly retired parents. Once settled in our new home, though, murals were good pay, interesting, and a way for me to stay at home. I, also, started entering area shows and festivals. I’ve shown at the Lake Eola Festival, Artistree Co-op Show and the Earth Day celebration. I had my bio written up in the local East Orlando paper, and got my art published in a tabletop book called Contemporary Artists. (Click here for link).The colors were garish, even by my standards, but a neighbor thought I could enhance her home and asked me to do murals, not just one, but the whole downstairs. I painted archway veggie sprays and faux fireplace moulding, a tree which wrapped around a wall
Two thousand eight hit everyone hard, and I was no exception. I divorced, but stayed in close proximity to my ex-spouse, for the kids. My interests in the spiritual side of life expanded, and in an effort to add to my income, I took a job at Sea World doing pastel portraits. This was an amazing job. I loved going in and connecting to tourists from all over the world. I had actually gotten the job by running into a co-worker from the Rocky Mountain News whom I’d worked with in Denver.enjoyed the moments. Not that I hadn’t before, but this was just for me, for play, no bettering my art, just going back to the basics.
I created a new, youthful, group of artist friends who opened up my art world in Orlando. After the portrait job ran its course, I went over to Café Tutu Tango on International Drive, where they have live painters and artists creating every day in 3 shifts. I was able to do any art I liked, and ended up developing my Birdys series. This led to me giving myself
A funny thing happened in those years, I linked into my inner child like I never had before, and out came fun, fantastical, whimsical art that everyone loved. My mother had always told me, “everyone has their own tastes”. But I don’t remember the last time someone said anything negative about my art. During this same time, I got involved in a popular pastime which took off, beading. I would sit in my driveway watching my kids playing, and bead earrings. I was having so much fun and joy creating bright, whimsical, childlike art and crafts, I just kept moving forward.
In 2012, I combined my spiritual side, astrology, Reiki and feng shui interests with art and started Artful Energies. Soon enough, it was apparent that I needed separate the two for effectiveness. This year, in July, CharmHollow.com was born. Charm Hollow is my web site which effectively combines my fine art, serious side, and my irreverent, cartoony side. It allows me to present the plethora of art and items I have to sell, (just ask anyone who has been to my home/gallery!) with the child-loving side of my personality. Charm is a sweet little bunny I drew one day in 2012. She has called to me, inspired me to create this site, and move forward with my dreams. I am, and will be, creating friends for Charm. They will be making appearances in the Hollow, and eventually a book.
In the meantime, I am SO excited to give Charm and Charm Hollow to the world. She keeps me focused and motivated. So, today, I am neck deep in online promotion in a new world of search engine optimizations and social media marketing. Learning as I go, the Mac is still my friend, along with artists, birds and bunnies. I hope you will take a look at my labor of love.
You can contact Shelley via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 321-285-2335
on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/charmhollow