If you Google “Skulls and Bones,” the results range from an action video game to a secret society. While both will have you circling down a search engine drain, neither will take you to the amazing creations featured by artist Shelby Law.
In what she describes as “Anatomical Surrealism,” Law creates a bare bones (if you’ll pardon the pun) view into the basics of what it means to be human. “Skulls are symmetry and aesthetically pleasing; flesh is flesh and it’s judged all too often,” Law states. “Remove it, and bones remain. We’re all the same underneath.”
Her current series is all about skulls and skeletal structures, with a twist. Basal and hypnotic, Law hopes viewers will be able to see her work and develop their own ideas and stories behind them. “It makes the artwork more than just paint and ink on a piece of paper. It gives it life and makes it more personal.”
Law believes art comes in many shapes and forms. Hers blends incredibly detailed skeletal structures with everyday sights and items. Astronauts, cats, and galaxies are seamlessly paired with black and white skulls and bones creating an unexpected final piece. What initially appears as two very different and mismatched bookends, after close observation, start to become a single thing of beauty. Her vision becomes clearer and you understand what she is trying to communicate. Connection.
In today’s high-tech, instant-gratification world, Law’s art gives you pause and makes you want to take a moment and seek the connection offered. Drawing her inspiration from everyday life, she states she appreciates minor details and the beauty found in seemingly banal routines. “Anything on your daily commute or any new adventure can spark your creative drive out of nowhere,” she muses. “With an artistic mindset and your creative eye open, anything can become your next inspiration.”
From a young age, Law was a doodler who asked for art sets at birthdays or Christmas. She would then frequently go missing at family parties so she could begin using her new supplies. “I kept my art on the DL much of my life, only family and others close to me knew drawing and painting were one of my passions,” she begins. “Art can be so personal and close to home sometimes, it’s hard to open up and let people see. Especially with the potential for criticism.” She remains undaunted by the prospect of negative reactions. “I implore others to take the leap and share it. Art is an expression, so express yourself.”
Law hopes to bring people new ideas and different representations of ideas through her art. She believes art doesn’t have one, but countless, definitions. It doesn’t have one genre or outcome on how it’s ‘supposed’ to look. Finally putting her work out into the public eye is a big step for someone who believes sharing art can be intimidating and terrifying when you allow the world the chance to see the inner workings of your passion and pass judgement. It is enough of a fear to make anyone never take that leap. But she did.
‘Live for today,” she says. “Take risks and take advantage of priceless opportunities, because tomorrow is never promised.”
Shelby Law is a special guest at the Redemption Series debut presented by Johnny “Ink” Flowers. Both artists will be on display for one evening only, at 125 Art Collective Tattoo Studio on Elmwood Avenue – March 30, from 6 – 10 p.m.