“I saw them for the first time last year, and was struck by the rhythms of the schools of fish swimming in formation, their beautiful colours, and the opportunity to witness so poetically the end of one phase of a life cycle, and the beginning of another.”
Shelley Hocknell, South Shore artist.
Shelley embodies the essence of Tahoe’s mountain culture. She’s an avid rock climber and mountaineer who has an inexhaustible supply of energy for creating art. In fact, she’s creating a painting a day.
Themes include rock climbing in which she’s mastered capturing the physical prowess and finesse of this sport in her charcoal and colored paintings. She also paints vineyards, landscapes and Kokanee Salmon.
About the Artist:
I was born in North Wales (UK), graduating with a degree in Art & Visual Culture in 1997. I had my first exhibition in 1995, whilst still a student, and this inspired me to work hard to forge a career in art. After graduating, I began painting rock climbers, inspired by a trip to Colorado where I tried climbing for the first time. ‘Climbing Art’ became my specialty, and was extremely well received in the UK.
An initial sellout exhibition led to several National TV News stories, and a feature on a Welsh Arts program. I was asked to exhibit at the Kendal International Mountain Film Festival, where I met the film maker David Jinks. His film company, FridgeProductions made an award-winning documentary, ‘High Art’, profiling my work in 2005. I built up a successful art gallery from 2000 – 2005, which attracted corporate sponsorship and public funding.
I left the UK to travel, paint and climb in June 2005 – during which time I met my husband, Taylor. We now live in Lake Tahoe, USA.
My work is informed by the rigorous discipline of drawing from life, as I started drawing from the nude figure aged 12. I take my inspiration from the artists Rodin and Michelangelo, as they both used muscular movement to render inner feelings, and I strive to achieve the same sense of emotion and passion in my work.
My work is mostly representational, inspired by my environment, people and life. Even the most unlikely subjects, such as Kokanee Salmon, or young vines growing in a winery are metaphors for how I am feeling at the time, so can be regarded as a visual fusion or observation and experience. Although I have lived in the US for over two years now, my work still bears the hallmark of the Welsh style – the bold use of black is particularly noticeable in Welsh art, probably due to the amount of darkness in our native landscape, as slate and coal were the major industries in Wales until relatively recently.
I regard my work as an expression of energy, movement and light. I strive to achieve this through colour, bold brushstrokes or charcoal lines, and through the subject’s own momentum on the picture plane. I work in a broad range of media, but particularly love oils for major pieces. I am working on a collection of large, heavily textured oils right now, which I anticipate to complete next year. They are inspired by Turner’s use of light, and will be centred on the theme of ‘Home’.
To view Shelley’s work, click here.