Born in Greenwood, Miss & graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN with a B.A. in Philosophy. Moved to Savannah, GA in 1994 after a stint in Boston, MA to study photography at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
In 1996 I opened a small, contemporary art gallery named the Athena Gallery after the Goddess of War & Fine Art. After 2 years I decided selling liquor would be more lucrative and opened a small bar in a dilapidated building. The bar was called Venus de Milo (after the Goddess of Love). During that time I had two painting shows “Little Known Facts” & “Die Mutter” (German for “the Mother”). Both shows were almost sold out.
Soon after I opened Eos - a food & wine bar (named after the Goddess of Renewal) was opened and I featured a photo show of works from San Juan, PR called “El Morro” (from the scenic cemetery overlooking the Caribbean). After 2 years I opened a second restaurant, Sol (Sun Goddess)- featuring Southwestern, Caribbean cuisine. The reviews for both were excellent and ironically Eos’ food was likened to “works of art” (Tim Rutherford - Savannah Morning News).
My heart, however, continued to long more & more for the roots in which it was grown. The things I wished to escape in the past became the things I longed for most in the present. I began to take frequent trips back to the Delta, quite literally to the backwoods outside of Holcomb, MS, next to a small Lake called Flat Lake off of Wolf Road. This is where I began to search for discarded items, scrap metal, driftwood, tin, etc. My father taught me to weld and I learned other skills at Rhodes that helped me to create bowls from discarded metal such as an old tin dollhouse, ghost ships & angels from driftwood, and platters from 55 gallon drums. My last show in Savannah consisted of pieces made during these trips was entitled “An Arsenal of Nothing”…it sold out.
I decided rather suddenly to quit business & live a more modest, fulfilling life by being closer to family & the land that inspires me. I literally packed myself and my mother up and moved to the Gulf Coast where I reside today, making frequent trips to the Delta to work, hunt, weld, and renew my love of Carhartts & camouflage !
My work can be seen at Gallery Point Leflore in Greenwood, MS, the Eastern Shore Arts Center Lyons Gallery in Fairhope, AL and the Caron|Prince Art Gallery in Tupelo, MS.
Facebook Page: Gunmetal: Southern Inspired Creations by Shelley S. Smith
recycled oil drum, 23 inches diameter
recycled oil drum, 23 x 32 inches
recycled oil drum, 23 inch diameter