Ok, not really. Don't run away yet at the thought that I'm going to completely unload a full year's worth of verbiage. Instead, I want to pull out some pointers, special moments, and what has really driven me to become the artist I am today. So buckle up and strap yourselves in folks!
First, I am so grateful for everyone who's been supportive in my endeavors and my passion with art. I genuinely had no idea that paper was going to be what triggered my most creative juices, but here we are. My husband has been the most supportive, enthusiastic and inspiring muse. Without him, I honestly don't know if I would have taken the plunge and thrown myself into the world of freelance art. So thank you husband for being who you are and loving me like you do :)
I originally started working with paper and had a particular "look" so to speak. But art is fickle and changes quickly as you grow, and I've seen myself develop more and more into the artist I am today. My style is unique - I genuinely believe that. I find inspiration in patterns, colors, and textures and I even amaze myself at some of the visions that I come up with just by looking at a piece of paper. Believe me when I say that I can spend HOURS looking online at several different paper retailers to find all of the beautiful handmade and decorative papers that I use everyday in my pieces. Some women collect shoes and clothing, this woman collects papers. Go figure.
One new creative outlet that I recently started has been with Puppy Portraits in Paper. This is a unique style that I use to create a gorgeous portrait of your loveable little furball completely out of paper. No this is not traditional, but I love all of the challenges, and overall look when I've finished. I love the dimension and the textures that come through with paper that you do not get with traditional mediums such as paint and pencil. Paper is such a delicate, intricate medium to use because it's so fickle and reacts IMMEDIATELY to whatever gluing agents I use. So I have had a lot of time to test and practice and I feel that I have found a permanent, positive method for sticking paper to paper. Puppy Portraits are very affordable and something that you can keep with you for a very long time (I hesitated in wanting to say "forever" because honestly, nothing lasts forever, but this could be a close ringer!) If you are curious and would like more information, or perhaps hear from past clients who have received puppy portraits in paper, please reach out! I will gladly chat with you, reminisce about your loveable furbaby and maybe toast a glass of wine in their honor. Because a lot of clients have commissioned me to do memorial pieces so that they can keep their special little furbaby in their hearts and in their sights forever.
Another positive notch in my artistic career has been a recent article in a local newspaper, detailing my art and my style for the community. This was beyond anything I could imagine - I've never been in a newspaper or had any exposure at a larger scale by any means. I appreciate so much everyone's reactions and genuine positive exclamations when they see my artwork. It's one thing to view it on a computer screen, but it's a completely different experience to see it in person, touch it and truly see all of the depths and textures that each paper has to offer. Again, when I say I'm obsessed with paper, that is not putting it lightly. :)
So moving into 2017 - I have some big ideas. VERY big ideas. I want to push myself artistically, put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable (with regard to my art of course) and really continue to develop myself as an artist. I know I can always learn, and I want to make sure that I'm doing that not only for myself, but for my viewers and admirers. I want everyone who is fortunate enough to own one of my pieces to think that they own a treasure, because you do. It's a piece of me that I put into all of my pieces and it's truly very special.
Thank you for an amazing year for 2016 and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!
Happy Papering :)
I am so excited. I am literally sitting here trying not to overload my keyboard with all of my emotions that are trying to come out through my fingertips! I was recently featured in our local newspaper, the La Crosse Tribune for my artwork and my passion. They did an amazing job and I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for this opporutnity. You can read the article below as well as visit www.lacrossetribune.com to see more on the article:
Some people collect jewelry, others squirrel away antiques, but for Shelby Andre, no possession is quite so prized as her paper stash. Glittery, floral, striped — she has them all, and even the smallest scraps bring a sparkle to her eye.
Andre’s affinity for paper started young, sparked by the purchase of a single sheet of regal patterned maroon velvet. Twenty years later, strips of the paper can be found in her artwork, Paper Figments, with the rest stowed lovingly among the dozens of rolls piled in her home studio.
After work or even in the middle of the night, Andre can be found in the nook off her bedroom, painstakingly cutting bits and pieces for her signature works, colorful compilations and patterns affixed to canvas and sealed with Mod-Podge. Every piece takes patience, with up to 20 hours dedicated to a large image.
“I just love the process,” Andre enthused of the layered works, depicting leaves, animals or the abstract. “I feel like they all tell a personal story about me.”
Andre created her first canvas five years ago after playing around with scraps and strips from her beloved velvet scroll. After her first art show in 2015, she quickly gained fans, enamored by the the unique, tactile creations. Andre sells originals or prints from her website, on Etsy or at Tapestry in Onalaska, and has a series of elephant prints that profit the Natural Resource Defense Council.
Andre’s themes have evolved to include quilt-like patterns, a customer favorite, and custom “puppy portraits,” paper likenesses created from pet photos. She has also branched out to oversized works and papered ornaments and vases.
“I like taking a risk and challenging myself, seeing where I can go,” Andre shared. “I’m not limited necessarily to the confines of canvas — I can carry my technique and sense of style to different mediums."
Some of her works are enhanced with watercolors or acrylic, and feature paper of all textures and thicknesses, from origami paper to gift wrap.
“I’m obsessed with paper — I’ll use whatever catches my eye,” Andre said. “My creativity really comes from the colors and patterns and vibrancy. Just looking at it gets me so inspired and excited about creating with it.”
Andre has gained confidence in her process, mastering the reactions of various mediums and learning to gauge when a piece has reached its limit for layers. And while inspiration and intent can waver without rhyme or reason, it’s an uncertainty she relishes.
“I like things to be beautifully chaotic,” Andre said. “I may start with one plan and it morphs into something completely different.”
Andre hopes her passion for paper will materialize into a career one day, and dreams of creating a children’s book on endangered animals — she already has a head start on the fringe-maned lions.
“I’m excited to see where this takes me,” Andre enthused. “And where I’ll be as an artist a year from now.”
For more information, go to the Paper Figments website.
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