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5 Minutes with artist Annabelle Shelton

A multi-disciplinary artist, Annabelle Shelton is based in the UK. Her works include a signature blank background created using white spray paint on aluminum, through which she explores the nature of negative space. This method allows Shelton’s subjects to appear as floating figures. In her beach scenes, which are included in SINGULART’s Summer Flash Sale, groups of sunbathers and holiday makers are re-contextualized, becoming semi-abstracted circles, clusters, and lines.

What are your artistic influences and other artists who you are inspired by?

My Artistic influences are wide and not necessarily focused on painting. The painters that I am currently following are John Korner, Ellen Gallagher, Adam Dix, Emma Talbot, and Alex Katz. John Korners work is immersive, loose painterly marks and subjects inhabiting strange worlds. Ellen Gallaghers work is powerful, fluid and straight talking. Adam Dix’s work is like a cult that draws you in with a 1950s palette and banal subjects. Emma Talbots work is intimate, primal, and expressive. Alex Katz paintings are full of confidence, taking slices of life as subjects painted in simplistic forms.

Where do you find your inspiration to paint? A time of day/time of year? Certain subjects?

 I have an urgency and desire to paint, it’s a discipline. Its like a mental participation of making something happen and there is a real freedom in that. Finding time to paint does not fit the 9-5, it’s a learnt behavior of working with the time you have between the role of being a mum. Snatching time here and there can be as little as 20 minutes or a full school day and not forgetting the late nights.

Right now my studio is full of photos that are sequences of Regents Street taken before the pandemic. I am working on ideas of layering the hustle and bustle of Covid and post Covid times. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your process of creation?

My work starts off as a photograph and through digital media I can come up with an image ready for painting. I have many considerations about how people work in a space and how that space draws us in, once I  am happy with the formal arrangements I am ready to work with. I use a very flat surface, an industrially painted white aluminum panel. Using watercolor I create my images that sit on the surface, which therefore creates a different way of using watercolor. I have been rejected from Watercolour Group Shows as I do not adopt the traditional approach. 

Annabelle Shelton

What is the meaning behind your use of blank space?

The blank space or the negative space is essential to the work’s dialogue. Its like a pause that isolates the subject. I am inspired by this saying by Tao Te Ching,

Thirty spokes meet in the hub. Through the space between them is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay. Through the space inside them is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors form the house. Through the space within them is the essence of the house.

What draws you to paint beach scenes?

The beach is a place where people draw together to escape everyday life. People go there for a daytrip, a holiday, or as a leisure pursuit. The beach is immensely popular, and many participate in the allure of the sun and the draw of the ocean. My work negates all aspects of the natural phenomena of the place, sun, sea and sand, and concentrates on the behavioral arrangements of the collective in a place space and time. The work reveals the patterns and gatherings with its paraphernalia. The paintings are like social geographical studies of the modern condition. 

Annabelle Shelton

Thank you Annabelle for answering our questions!

Read our interview with Lusie Schellenberg, also included in the Summer Flash Sale here!