Artist Spotlight: Shelley Heffler

Promised Pleasure

What does a day in your art practice look like?
I go to the studio every day. Mornings, I read email and do brain games with coffee. In the studio, I continue working on my current work. In the background is either a book on tape, a pod cast or music. During the making period, I often take photos of process and progress. When I am done with the work, I photograph it and upload to my website and artwork archive. I always clean my studio and organize it before taking on the next work.

What would life be like without art?
A void

What is the hardest part of creating your art?
The physical part and endurance are slowing me down. I have to take frequent breaks. The other part of the art making is the promotional part, which can be a creative part too, but my least favorite and hardest thing to do.

What inspires you?
I don’t know whether it is inspiration or just the need to create. I have had lapses of not making art and I think I went a little crazy. I lost who I was. So, it is not about inspiration as it is the fabric of my makeup.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Find your people and don’t get side tracked by people who say you can’t do it.

Who would you most like to collaborate with? Why?
I would love to collaborate with architects. The presence of structures in our environment really effects the way we live. I grew up in New York where towering buildings blocked out the sun. I think new architects are taking the environment into consideration and designing buildings that function aesthetically and environmentally. I have seen building where the vegetation is growing on the balconies and roof tops, using buildings as a resource for food, cooling and beauty.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t stop following your dreams.

If you could change anything about the art world, what would it be?
Equity. When I was younger, I believed that the artworld looked at the art and not the person, but that was naïve of me. It occurs to me that the bias in the artworld reflects the political world and that is an unfortunate truth.

Playing Games

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
To keep motivated, I surround myself with artists and people who are interested in art and culture. I listen to books and try to stay connected to the world.

If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose? and why?

I am not sure I would want to be in any other time where women are not respected. Although we struggle today to have a voice, I think it was much more difficult in other time periods. Satisfied I am here today.

The Bride Stripped Bare

How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
Hard to say

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
I strive to harness the transformative power of art to promote awareness, provoke dialogue, and inspire action. I would like to see my work travel to other cities and of course museums to gain more exposure and spotlight our human impact on this planet.

What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Be inquisitive and never stop learning. Don’t get discouraged by failures, because it is the failures that lead to the next great thing.

How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the action you produce?
One step at a time. I start with the idea and work through the problems. What I had in my head is the start, the hand and eye take over when I produce.



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