Anyone can be an artist if they try hard enough. Sure, having parents who are good at art can help, but art itself is something you spend a long time on, practicing and trying over and over again, working towards some form of perfection. Then again, arty parents can sometimes not help at all, there’s natural talent but even that needs to be refined and taught over time. Most importantly, there needs to be a passion for art.
Artistic talent is something that runs in my family. My mum’s side of the family has always been artistic. It passed down to me and the siblings, kinda. But me, brother and sister all have different styles – my art is rough and sketchy, sister’s art is cutesy and influenced by whatever she’s currently into and brother’s art is weirdly neat and calculated, almost like architectural drawings.
None of this has anything to do with my mum and her amazing, utterly insane art. Or the fact that she’s doing her first exhibition today and I thought it would be nice to say how awesome mum and her art are. Because it’s all awesome.
The way she describes it is “crazy” and she’ll often say her art is shit. It’s not shit, it’s different. It’s the sort of crazy you’d see on a hallucinogenic drug trip. Not always a good drug trip either. Her art is somewhat inspired by the music she listens to, a mixture of alternative rock genres from Queens of the Stone Age to Kasabian to Vex Red to Radiohead to whatever pops up on the local Rock FM radio station.
Mum’s weapons of choice? Black pens. Lots and lots of black pens. Everything is drawn in pencil first, because she’s not an idiot like me. Then everything is slowly filled in with a collection of black pens. Outlines first, then whatever she feels like filling in. Then she adds a bunch of scary faces. Each picture takes over twenty hours, and mum will spend the evenings listening to music as she draws away.
The best thing about mum’s art is how other people look at it. Everyone who has seem this stuff up close has a different reaction. There’s an initial look of confusion as the viewer tries to work out what they’re looking at, then the confusion fades way as people look at different areas, staring at the bits they like. Finally, there is the realisation that they are looking into the mind of a madwoman. Even more so these days since mum quit smoking and drinking and drawing is her new hobby to keep herself busy.
People have often seen many different things in mum’s art. Three people saw three different things inside one swirling vortex of insanity. One saw a shell on the beach, another saw a whirlpool, another didn’t even see the spiral effect at all, mesmerized by the tiny details. Most of the time though, the theme is ambiguous, outside of swirling masses of shapes, faces, spirals, tentacles and claws, often dashed with a feeling of confusion, fear or drowning. It’s a weird mess. It’s a cool mess.
Funnily enough, this sort of art is kinda new for mum. She used to draw… Fluffier things in the past, but this new art is something that comes from her mind, rather than drawing for other people. That being said, she can draw anything when she puts her mind to it. Except for horses. Mum can’t draw a decent horse to save her life.
Mum’s selling prints soon, although shipping costs outside Cyprus can be finnicky. If you want to browse her art or perhaps even buy a print, you can visit lshieldsart.com for more information.
And yes, mum, you are mad. You said so yourself.