"Inspiring Artist!" Shantel Milner Scott

Shantel, I am excited to be including another artist right here in my backyard. It proves that the arts are alive here in this town.

Thank you so much for this opportunity Jennifer. I am forever grateful.

Cerebral Ethereality

Please introduce yourself and your art a little bit.

Well my name is Shantel Milner Scott. I’m originally from Las Vegas and have been residing in Fayetteville for about 4 years now. I graduated from Fayetteville State University in 2008 with a BA in visual arts /graphic design emphasis, so my work is mostly graphics with a fine art twist I suppose. Often times I will combine a number of mediums including pen and ink, sketches, watercolors and scan them into Photoshop and mess around with them, or add some graphics rendered in Illustrator.

So far in my short career as an artist, I have received honorable mention in the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center 20th Anniversary Juried Exhibition (http://www.lasvegascac.org/exhibitions/juried20.html)  for a piece entitled “The Sneeze.” Though it may not seem like much of a prestigious award for some, it was certainly an achievement for me, considering that the juror was a writer for Juxtapoz magazine. I have also received third prize in a Fayetteville Artists Guild Juried Exhibition for that same print. And also recently, fellow artist Angela Williams and I have hosted our own open call art exhibits under the moniker “S.T.U.N. Art” and have received modest press about our first exhibit in Up and Coming Weekly.

The Sneeze
Where can people find you and your work?

HTTP://EXRABBIT.COM is where my work can be found. I will also have inappropriate screen printed tee shirts for sale soon.
Finish this thought: For me art is…

A powerful mode of expression when words and actions fail to communicate whatever is irking me at the time. There is also a sense of ownership. The concept of pouring ones heart, soul and ideas into a work of art, then presenting it to the public for individuals to connect to is pretty profound.
Your graphic design packs a powerful punch! Can you talk a little bit about the issues and ideas you confront with your work?

I don’t really work with a specific theme. I observe many things (media, conversations, actions of people, history), process them and regurgitate these thoughts and ideas onto canvas or Photoshop or whatever medium that I see fit. Any work that I have created thus far was a product of emotional regurgitation I suppose. For example, the Black Mannerisms prints were culminated as a result of my heavy research of African American artists for a class that I was taking at FSU. I found that many African American artists felt the need to address issues of race and discrimination in their work but often faced exclusion from the greater arts community as a result. Consequently, I had race and discrimination on the brain and needed to express it, but in a humorous pseudo-scientific manner so as to make light of the subject. As for some of my less confrontational pieces, I just love using loud and vibrant colors.

Black Mannerisms 1

Black Mannerisms 2

How has your personal life influenced your art?

My personal life is an integral part of my work. Often times I will use personal photos in my work or images of friends. And any issues that I am going through at the time are conveyed in my work. I have come to notice how much my mood affects my color choices. In retrospect, I recognize that my bright and vibrant pieces such as “The Sneeze” were created during a time of carefree and easy going panache. Whereas, I will often use a limited color palette if I’m feeling a bit disgruntled and that is surely conveyed in the Black Mannerisms series.
In addition to your own art and training you are doing some amazing things for the local art community. Tell the readers about S.T.U.N.

S.T.U.N. is an acronym championed by my good friend Angela Williams. It stands for Social Therapy Un-Noticed. She came up with this after many discussions with our friends about the many public displays of psychotic and foolish behavior we were witnessing in the media and in our everyday lives. We then concluded that everyone, including the sanest of people had some sort of chemical imbalance with the degree of insanity varying from person to person. This acronym was also very fitting for us, as we often used art to quell our own bouts of insanity. So it only made sense to use this acronym as our moniker. And hosting open call art exhibitions for local underground artists was something that we had been conceptualizing since college. We wanted to see more edgy work in the downtown arts scene and rather than complain about the lack of diverse galleries, we decided to put on our own production. Fortunately, our membership with the Fayetteville Artists Guild has afforded us the opportunity to do so.
I love the idea of giving up and coming artists the chance to share their work. Are there any participants who you would like to highlight here?

I was fortunate enough to come across some great work in the March/April S.T.U.N.Art exhibit, all of which can be viewed at WWW.STUNART.ORG, but would be vexed to list just a few. I would encourage viewers to visit the site and check out the pictures from past events.
Your vision and drive are inspiring! Who has inspired you?

A few of my inspirations include pop culture, music, art nouveau, 60’s counter culture, my fellow artist friends and my FSU art professors.

What is the next step in your artistic career?

Right now I’m briefly migrating away from graphic prints and am focusing on a series of paintings. I’ve always been enthralled with the act of laying paint on canvas. I am also focusing on gaining clientele for freelance graphic design projects and a line of hand screen printed tee shirts.
Are there any tips to living a creative life that you’d like to share?

DO NOT let your job or societal expectations dictate your life. If there is something you want to do, just do it. If you feel like your creativity is being stifled, take charge of your life and make steps toward doing what you want to do. Even if they are just small steps like drawing for a half hour a day. That small step may eventually lead to series of works, which in turn may lead to a gallery exhibit and so on and so forth. Creativity arises from doing and will atrophy like any other ability if not used regularly.

Thank you Shantel, what a great interview!  I especially liked your “tips to living a creative life.”  So true! 

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