Interview with Shelley Botticelli

Can you tell us a bit about yourself

I could, but I'd have to kill you.

Tell us about your style, where does your inspiration come from?

A lot of it actually comes from my grandpa Rocky. I grew up surrounded by fast cars, shit talking and huge neon arcade machines with funny little creatures living inside of them. His whole apartment is decked out with toys and props and slot machines and cars and posters of naked girls, definitely a bit of a bachelor pad. He’s a very interesting man my grandpa, very croatian, has a lot of quirks, being in his house is like stepping in a time portal back to the 50s. I often find myself drawing the women tattooed on my grandpa's arms


We share a love of bright colours, you tend to favour neon psychedelic hues. What are some of your favourites?

I like colours that make me feel warm and a little bit woozy. I'm trying to create these dream like worlds, so i use colours that don't play a huge role in day to day life to really separate myself from reality. Sometimes I get a bit of a headache when I paint because the colours are so intense. But that’s the point I guess. I want it to look a little bit obnoxious.


You tend to feature a lot of dolphins, tigers and nudes in your paintings. What draws you to these subjects?

I think a lot of that is about escapism. Sometimes life can get a bit monotonous, and it's nice to lose yourself in a fantasy world, especially one of my creation. Knowing just where everything sits and all the rules (having made them up) and all of the characters falling out of my brain and onto the paper have a place and their own little narrative. Maybe its a control thing, who knows. I control these worlds and the outcomes, and that's a comforting thing, especially being in my early 20’s where it doesn't feel like you're in control of much.

Does the location of the studio on K Rd have an impact on your art? Tell us about the community around here.

I would say so. We are a product of our environment and all the people surrounding us. I work at an arts and content agency called ‘Monster Valley’ at the back of St Kevins arcade, and my studio is right next door so I spend 90% of my life there. I’ve always thought of K road as a sea of familiar faces, you can't walk down the road without bumping into at least a few people you know. And it's filled with so many awesome collectives, like Monster Valley of course which is such an incredible place, but also Strangehaven, Inky Palms and Lowtide is close by too, just to name a few!


What’s one of the strangest things you’ve seen on K Rd?

I saw a woman pushing a full grown man round in a stroller once. Not that i'm judging, if I could find someone to push me around all day I'd probably be pretty okay with that.

We’re about to host your first solo show at Checks. What comes next for Shelley Botticelli?

I’m currently working on a book of short stories and illustrations, that won't be out for awhile. I will have a few short stories hidden around the exhibition to go with my paintings so keep your eyes peeled! Also, Monster Valley is hosting a one night festival called “The Experiment” down in Whammy bar, Wine Cellar and Backroom on August 3rd, me and Toni are planning a little something special for that so make sure you come and check it out!

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