A Visual Storyteller
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m Shell, an artist and designer working out of my design studio in Northern Virginia. I license my artwork directly to manufacturers as well as design for a growing collection of home décor, stationery and gift lines. I am best known for my fluid, organic, softly sophisticated design aesthetic.
What does being a creative mean to you?
Being in tune enough with myself so that I recognize when something I have seen, heard, felt, touched…experienced… sparks that mysterious yet specific feeling of the Muse, within. Hand in hand with that gut feeling comes the inner drive to try to bring that feeling to life in some way… usually through my art or words. Fitting, I think, that I often refer to myself as a visual storyteller.
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
I have always enjoyed and been drawn to art materials and using my hands to create something new. But that feeling of having to be creative is relatively new for me. I credit the rise of social media… so much visual stimulation constantly floating by in the stream. There are times when I am completely consumed by a new idea…so much so that I can’t rest until I dive in to try my hand at bringing it to life. Those moments of inspiration are magic…they fuel me.
What is your favorite work ritual?
Work never feels like work, because I love what I do. Art and design are just extensions of myself. But my favorite daily ritual is my morning routine. I try to take a full hour before the day really begins, alone in my studio, enjoying the solitude I crave, enjoying my coffee, reveling in the light that fills my space.
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
The nature of my design work means that I often am juggling many projects at once, but when I am well rested, I tend to revel in that faster pace. To keep balanced; I try to dance or run every day. When I can get to saltwater, that always does the trick. Breathing slow and deep does wonders for a body… I’m still working on that one. ;)
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
1. Tenacity (An inner drive… you have to really WANT this).
2. Patience (Good things take time to unfold…)
3. Hustle & Heart (There are no shortcuts… Having a willingness to put in the time, to research when you don’t have an answer, to take risks!)
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
Success means working proactively towards achieving the goals I set for my business and myself, however large or small. Success is fluid… a dance of sorts, dependent upon my own ability to adapt and adjust as my interests and vision shifts or parameters change. Yes, I feel that I do that dance very well.
What has been the best advice you have received?
To follow my instincts which are almost always on point and to remain true to my authentic self.
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
My 20 year old daughter. I am in awe of her bravery, her vulnerability and her confidence. She has a strong sense of self, a wonderfully sharp sense of humor and a beautifully charismatic smile that draws others to her.