Jody Shell

InstructorResident Artist

  My curiosity with the playful process of materials and mark making lays the foundation for my work. I open the door to my memories and to what is currently occupying my brain space. I tune in to what is trying to emerge and become a willing partner as animals, birds and recognizable forms become visible. In the end, I step back and hope to see a bit of an unspoken story staring back at me…a space that invites the viewer to bring their own memories and experiences to the work as well.

 I believe that my personal work flows easily into the work I hope to engage in with students within a residency program. Visual storytelling, both real and imagined, is at the heart of my work and also in the work with my students. Our hopes, memories, dreams for the future provide rich fodder for the imagination. Using a playful approach with mixed media those snippets of stories can emerge. 

 Projects become the vehicle to hold these stories while the student enhances the images and symbols to their satisfaction. Wish bowls made of cardboard and then embellished can then hold a student’s deepest desires. Accordion books, personal symbols known only to the creator, can add layers of mark making to prints or borders for dream paintings. The sky is the limit and who will really know the depth of our stories unless we choose to tell them through the creative process? Their artistic work can then become a springboard for creative writing, drama, music and movement stimulating visual storytelling into other avenues as well!