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Rising Stars: Meet Shelby June

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelby June.

Hi Shelby, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
My story is all over the place! I grew up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and created anything and everything in my Grandma Charlotte’s craft room.

Once I got to middle school, I started taking art classes and yearbooks, finding my magic. Once I got to high school, I was a three-sport athlete until I tore my ACL and switched my gym class to art class, and the magic started again. I would take as many art classes as my schedule allowed, and even then I’d skip other classes and hide in the art room working on whatever projects I had at the time.

In my senior year, we had a district-wide art show at the end of the year, and setting up my highlight display brought me back to when I was in kindergarten walking into the same show for the first time – wishing that’d be me one day, and it was!

After high school, I went away for college and sort of lost my way in the art world. I changed my major a million times, dropped out, and started waitressing. In the meantime, I was doodling and creating makeup designs for friends. I moved back home shortly after my Grandma passed away, knowing I had to get back in alignment with my purpose. I wasn’t sure what that exactly was at the time, but I knew it was something to do with art & traveling.

I spent the next year figuring out what I really wanted, and ended up moving to Mackinac Island, MI for the summer for work. I met tons of amazing people who taught me that the world really is at your fingertips. To this day, so many friends from the island still support me & my artwork. After the summer of 2018 on the island, I moved to Naples, FL for what was supposed to be only six months but I ended up finding myself through my artwork & fell in love.

In 2019, I moved into a studio apartment that was owned by an abstract artist who traveled seasons to show & sell her work. the backyard had a lanai patio turned into a little art studio! At that moment, I knew the universe was showing me what my future could be. So I started painting for fun, which turned into friends asking for commission pieces, which turned into my entire life.

I was still waitressing at night so I’d wake up early, make some coffee and paint the entire day until I had to clock into work. Once we moved out of that studio apartment and into a two-bedroom apartment in 2020, I was able to make the extra room my own little studio.

Starting on the floor to literally create it from the ground up. Shortly later, Covid hit, and I was laid off from my job and started painting every day and night. At the end of the year, I decided to move back to Michigan with my family. Still, through all the hardships, I had that year, creating artwork helped me through it.

I was in Michigan for an entire winter after not doing snow for a few years. I told myself if I could make it through this, I could do anything. I was healing from multiple heartbreaks, health problems, and mental blocks. but I did it! of course with the help of my family and best friends. Once spring hit in 2021, I packed up my car again and moved out to Phoenix, AZ. craving new adventures and inspiration, I found everything I was looking for.

I rented out two rooms, one my bedroom and one my art studio. I’ve created hundreds of pieces of work, met tons of amazing connections and local artists, and have showed in a few art shows in the area so far. 2022 has been wild so far! I’ve moved apartments and started setting up my new studio space. I’ve also been training in the tattoo world, so ink + skin has been my newest medium! I’ll forever be creating, no matter what medium or supplies I have.

I have big dreams of inspiring others to love themselves, believe in themselves and to live in their true authenticity. Life can get extremely hard sometimes, but having those core beliefs will help more than you know. I hope my artwork and life shows that if you just keep going and keep growing, it’ll all work out. just believe in yourself!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Definitely not a smooth road at all!

Over the years, I’ve dealt with mental blocks like imposter syndrome, and my brain always tells me “I can’t, I’m not good enough. no one will like this”. Also coming from such a small town, being an artist isn’t really considered a “realistic career path”.

I’ve dealt with so many physical struggles, but the biggest one is mental and fighting the little voices that are doubting you in your head. Waking up every day and telling them to quiet down, and show up to prove them wrong. you really are your biggest and only competition.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I create abstract paintings using acrylic, resin, and gold.

I also make resin trays and accessories and have recently started tattooing and doing small/minimal tattoos in Chandler, AZ. I’m more known for my paintings at the moment but hoping to spread my artwork through tattoos more frequently as well. I’ve always wanted to spread my light and love through my artwork, so finding multiple mediums to do it has been very progressive.

I think what sets me apart from others is how much heart and soul I try to pour into my work. like I said, at the end of the day I really want to spread love and inspiration, and I hope everyone who has a piece of my work or even follows my work, I hope they find meaning & peace in their everyday life through it.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I feel lucky every day.

I’m lucky to have such a supportive family who have followed my journey since literally day one. My mom has paid for one of my biggest drawings, my dads house is filled with my work everywhere from kindergarten to now, my brother and sister both have a few original paintings from when I started in the Naples studio.

I’m lucky to have such an amazing girl gang of best friends who are there for me through everything, who’ve bought tons of work from me and even let me tattoo them when I first started learning and I’m lucky to wake up healthy and create art every day, grateful to say the least. It’s the little things that matter most.

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