Shelley is a happy-go-lucky lefty who dabbles in a wide range of artistic expression from her work at local community theaters to quiet moments spent at home tinkering with paints, pencils and pastels. She is also a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where she is maintaining an A average. "It's really exciting" states Shelley, "College has offered me the opportunity to explore all the aspects of graphic art and design as well as hone my artistic abilities and learn with others the nuance of art and how it plays an important role in today's ever changing world."
Shelley credits her mom with her love of the arts and pencil sketch work. She and her sister would doodle for hours on end under the encouragement of her mother's knowing hand. Shelley's father, too, had a gift with the arts. His snarky sense of humor always prevailing in his work. Shelley enthusiastically says hers was a happy childhood filled with love and support.
The products of Shelley's labor have no real theme. At the theater, her work stands out as most sets have their own flavor and detail. Shelley works to echo the theme of the show with the design of the set artistry. "Everything plays a part when designing for a production. If a detail doesn't somehow coincide with the aura of the show, than I haven't done my job. It all has to work together." She's created forced perspective scenery and artistry for many productions in Zanesville and even in Columbus. She has also designed many logos and advertising plans. In her free time, she likes to draw and explore new pencils and most recently graphite. She's charmed by the increased value she can achieve in her work with the addition of graphic and charcoal to her trove of art supplies. Shelley also plays with water color and acrylics. She doesn't really call herself "an artist" as she feels it is an intimidating term filled with expectations. She says instead that she's a 'doodle bug with big dreams'.
Art has been a sanctuary and comfort in dire times. It has also been an ice breaker and a way to communicate. It's a way to get people talking. Some folks become interested in what she is drawing and they forget their inhibition and ask about the work. Through the years, Shelley has met many people because of a simple pencil and paper. They are people she may have never met otherwise. "I love creating" states Shelley. "There are no limits in art - things can be as you want them to be...friendlier worlds, brighter skies..anything...the limit is your imagination. That's the best part!"
When asked "What are you trying to accomplish or say with your art?" Shelley hedges a bit. "In theater, my goal is to compliment the story somehow. Do my artistic choices enhance the essence of what the author is trying to say and does it echo what the director wants it to say? My goals are clear at the theater." "At home" she continues "I draw to see what happens. No real goal other than to let my daily life dissolve and let my pencil explore the page. I would love to create 'that work' that makes people take notice and become better people a la Norman Rockwell. Is it likely?...one never knows, but one day perhaps." Artists that have inspired her are Frazetta, Valejo, Bell, De Beradinis, Vargas, Elmore, Hindergardt and the stop animation artist Ray Harry Hussen..just to name a few.
"I'm inspired by people who believe in a better tomorrow. That quiet burst of optimism that stifles the woes of the world - that really does it for me. I'm inspired by nature and the people around me. MY husband also inspires me. He has a way of seeing the world through 'rose colored retinas. No glasses...he sees a world that I peer into once in a while but he lives it. I don't know how he does it, but it makes my every day a better place to be. "Shelley serves as a freelance artist for her husband's home based business R.L. Tolliver & Company. She has created many interiors that reflect a home owners personality - from Buckeye bedrooms to seascapes, she enjoys helping others to turn their rooms into their sanctuaries. For an online portfolio, e-mail her at email@example.com. R.L. Tolliver & Company believes in quality work for budget friendly rates. If you are considering any remodeling job, talk to Rich or Shelley -they have done some amazing things.