Shelley de Bruyn, formally known as Shelley Botticelli, is an artist and illustrator based out of Karangahape Rd. Bright off-neon hand painted tigers, dragons, flowers and bikini babes are a few of the characters that trend through Shelley's work. Her stand out style has been in surplus this year across numerous groups art shows including Good Exposure and Dynasty, live mural painting sessions and her own solo show recently hosted by Checks Downtown. Shelley explains her work is inspired by the elusive role that child experience can play in shaping creativity in adulthood, giving her works a dreamlike quality and an absence of control. She is currently a studio resident and employee over at our neighbours Monster Valley where she is exploring both creative writing and illustration.
Over the last year you have rapidly developed as an artist locally; stretching yourself across a huge number of group shows, markets and your recent solo show at Checks Downtown. What are a few things that have driven your art forward this year?
I think a lot of it has just been natural progression, particularly because of where my work and studio are located. You meet people and collaborate and things just seem to evolve on its own. But yeah, Karangahape Road is teeming with creatives so the opportunities are always there it’s just about saying yes to the ones that come your way!
When you are part of a show, of any capacity, What do you hope to achieve each time?
Often I don’t get any work done until a few days leading up to a show. like as soon as I commit to something I become instantly creatively bankrupt, and it’s only the stress of a deadline that’s spurs some sort of creative breakthrough, so the following days are ensued with stress and anxiety and looming deadlines. So I guess like, getting on top of my shit and sussing things out so I don’t spend the days leading up to the show being a literal nightmare to anyone who has the terrible misfortune of coming into contact with me.
What has been your favourite show or event so far?
Last summer Siobhan, Toni and I road tripped down to Whangamata for the Wabi Sabi Gallery opening. I had been in contact with Nick and Karenza online and i had never met them, but they invited us to stay with them in their beautiful gallery which was right by the beach. Nick gave us his caravan, which was located in the carpark out the back of the gallery and we woke up every morning to the sound of waves and the couple upstairs screaming at each other. They introduced us to their friends and we spent the following days drinking outside the gallery in the sun and going to bonfires and we met so many amazing people, and ended up hitchhiking home because we missed our bus.
You current work at Monster Valley with Karl and Toni, as well as residing there in the shared studios. Tell me a bit about how you came about MV?
Well first I met my lovely angel Toni which led me to getting a studio residency next door at Monster Valleys Poynton Studio and me and Karl got talking and I kinda forced him to hire me and I suspect he has regretted it everyday since.
Monster Valley is a huge part of K Road, I feel like it combines creativity and community it a really natural and friendly way - while still being a multi-dimensional business that caters to both commercial and editorial clients. I think a lot of people could agree. How do you think MV spins K Road?
Monster Valley is home to so many people. It’s become a real community and its been so cool to be involved in a place that just gives a shit about art and community and people. It’s constantly evolving and reshaping itself and I am so grateful to Karl (Director of MV) for giving me the opportunity to be involved in such a spectacular thing, and letting me work alongside one of my best friends (The amazing, spectacular one and only Toni Gill.)
With this year being so turbo for you - what are your plans for the summer months?
I’ll keep working on my book but I also think I’d like to refine my style a lot, so maybe just being a little more private about what I’m working on and trying not to commit myself to too many things. I think it’s important to just paint for yourself sometimes without having an audience in mind, I would like to start being more authentic to myself, so working privately will be quite beneficial.
The Experiment Event by Monster Valley earlier in the year was amazing, and a huge success. Congrats! You helped organise this event. What in your opinion is the few key factors to throwing a successful event?
Being on the same page with everyone you are working with is important, and Karl and Toni are the best people you could possibly ask for. For Karl to put on a free event of this capacity is remarkable in itself, nothing would ever had happened without him, he's far to humble and there aren't enough people out there like him. And Toni is obviously an incredible graphic designer and artist, so it was a dream team really! That’s all you can really ask for.
What are three of the biggest misconceptions people have around your art?
People think I take a lot of mind altering substances which cracks me up. But also I think people often apply more meaning to my art then they should. I get a lot of messages about the “meaning” behind my art but I just paint so I can make more sense of my reality, it's grounding and meditative and helps me work through my shit. Of course there is meaning there, but i kind of like to keep my stuff quiet. People’s minds are too busy and I think it's nice to sometimes look at something and just appreciate it for what it is and not try and force logic or opinions onto it. It’s really important to find meaning in some things, because art is used as a vehicle of expression, but personally I want my art to be used to escape the mind rather than reside within, I want it to be an external experience.
Locally and internationally, what artists, designers and creatives do you admire?
Locally there are honestly too many people to count but Claudia Kogachi’s work is staggeringly beautiful. Internationally I'm really into Paul Paetzel and Wakana Yamazaki at the moment.
Gucci would be amazing its so beautiful and its worth like $12.7 Billion dollars imagine the cash you would hustle from a job like that :o
Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?
Top five tracks to paint/draw to?
Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?
Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu and Destiny’s Child.