It's that time of year again. The realization that summer is officially over and we've been feeling all the feelings surrounding from the end-of-summer blues to the back-to-school excitement to the "how in the world has another year passed? and when did our babies get so big?!" Time is such a thief! It's hitting us like a freight train this year and instead of fighting it why not just lean in? At Well + Wonder we channel all the feels into art - and this year we looked to Shelby Monteverde, the latest artist to join the Well + Wonder ranks, to create what our heart desires to capture in that sweet innocence of childhood. Based in Memphis, Tennessee Shelby sees the everyday details, objects, and people of her own life as colorful and significant. On a group Zoom earlier this summer, Shelby mentioned an itch to paint the Little Tike swings she remembered from her childhood and saw hanging from neighbors trees and play sets. We love to wax sentimental so we couldn't think of a better subject matter to release into our collection on Monday to encapsulate all of the feelings that are filling our hearts this August. We hope these sweet paintings serve as a reminder of this precious time. In classic form, we asked Shelby to tour us around her studio and answer a few of our rapid-fire questions as part of her big Well + Wonder debut. She lives up to the hype! Shelby's responses are like poetry. Continue reading and get inspired by the incredibly talented and thoughtful Shelby Monteverde!
What is currently on your nightstand?
Tiny trinket dish with a little brown bird on it, glasses, scrunchie, book, cup of water.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
Teil Duncan and Lulie Wallace come hand in hand for me. I never knew art could be an actual modern career until I discovered these two Charleston painters sometime in college. I always thought if I wanted to be an artist, I’d have to be an art teacher, and I didn’t want to be a teacher. I would’ve never dreamt of being an artist because it felt far too unpredictable and irresponsible, but as I witnessed these two women growing their art into flourishing businesses, I started to dream about the possibility of it.
It took me much longer to accept and pursue these dreams as the calling on my life that they always were, but Teil and Lulie planted the seeds that allowed me to see them in the first place. So for that I am deeply grateful.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
My childhood was pure bliss. When I think about my life as a child it all runs together into summer night sounds and lightning bugs, pale yellow and saturday morning cartoons, gooey chocolate chip cookies by the pool and cold milk in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, that good full belly feeling that crowds out fears.
I can pull out one of my specific memories as it pertains to art. My neighbor and I decided to draw portraits of each other. She said, “I’m done!” But when I looked at her drawing of me, I probably didn’t say anything for a long while as I tried to process how in the world she thought she was done when she clearly wasn’t. She forgot my eyebrows.
I don’t think I said anything because I really don’t think she knew. I started to notice this as a trend, that other kids would forget the eyebrows, too. I didn’t want to go around critiquing everyone’s brow-less faces, so I just internally made up my mind that maybe I saw details in a way that others didn’t.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Ebony Pencil. I love how thin and light it can be, then how bold and dark it can be depending on the type of pressure applied.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
Den. Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore walls, earthy green velvet couches we basically stole, neutral pink patterned rug (my husband and I’s first big purchase as a married couple), two square eastern facing windows softened by natural linen drapes made by my parents, white brick fireplace with oversized wood beam (excavated from an old house being torn down in our neighborhood), two ivory swivel chairs with my grandfather’s painting above them, lit by a picture light, baskets of blankets, dog bed shoved in the corner.
What is your biggest score online?
Brynn Swivel Chairs from World Market that I actually found through another artist, Brynn Casey! I’ve never bought anything like this online, so I was nervous if they would exceed expectations or leave me disappointed. Exceeded!
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
In my opinion, it’s comforting knowing others have gone before you to curate a collection of art marked with the stamp of “I know the artist, love their work, and I believe you will too.” And it’s also cool to buy through a collective because you feel a part of that family in a way.
Be patient, be alert, and let something unexpected pull at your heart strings.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
The Met. I’ve been once and feel like I didn’t even scratch the surface in the time that was allotted. Besides seeing amazing paintings, I think it would be a fun place to sit and people watch.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
SoHo Grand Hotel in New York City. I tend to get fairly anxious whenever I travel because I am a huge homebody. We had plans to go to brunch the first morning, but I hadn’t slept in my usual princess fashion the night before so I had to bail. I stayed in the hotel room while my husband walked around the corner to get me a bagel from dunkin’ donuts that was hard as a rock. I literally cried and laughed while trying to eat this bagel, as it sank in that the first meal I was having in NYC was the worst bagel of my life. Now I just laugh about it.
The hotel was industrial and magical and I felt like a celebrity (isn’t that what a good hotel is supposed to do?!) We had a corner room with two giant windows facing out to this never ending concrete jungle. Each time we walked back into our room after miles on the ground, I had to reprocess that detailed cityscape once again through our canopy corner room, that it wasn’t just some computer background, it was real.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
I want to say pink, but if I’m being honest… clear. I am 1) intimidated by lipstick 2) don’t think it looks good on me, and 3) cannot stand the feeling or look of it being all clumpy and weird after eating or drinking or talking or living my life.
I can never get on a plane without....
A cozy, oversized sweatshirt.
How did you get into the world of art?
I feel as though I was born right into it. My grandfather is an artist and his paintings have always lined the walls of my parents home. I like to believe the first colors my baby eyes recognized were the pigments in his paintings. Along with early exposure, I truly think I inherited the desire and ability to create fine art from him.
What do you do to relax?
Cancel plans, yoga, cook, scorching hot showers every night, face masks, sleepytime tea, candles, blankets, socks, robe, cuddles with my dog, Rue. Also doing absolutely nothing.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Whenever I let go of the to-do (control) list.
Prediction for the Color of 2022?
Gosh I have no idea. I’m just gonna say some sort of Kelly Green.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
On the slimmest occasion I want to go to some cute trendy dinner place with handmade pottery plates and string lights and greenery, but 99.999% of the time, my idea of a date night is cheap mex and a movie on our couch with break and bake chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
So far, it’s Mustard Field. It’s a landscape painting that I got totally lost in during the process. All of a sudden I looked up, stood back, and felt as though it was exactly what my heart was trying to say/evoke. And I had nothing to do with it. I try to get out of the way so God can create through me, and I had a strong sense of Him working through me in this particular painting.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Buy it because you love it and the artist, not because it matches your sofa or because it’s trendy. You’ll know it when you see it because It’ll feel like it was made for you. Then jump on it because you’ll be ticked if someone else gets it.