We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelbie Lloyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shelbie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued an artistic/creative career, because honestly, growing up it was the only career path that made sense to me. I was always painting, performing, taking photos, or building shit from a very young age.

My extended family is full of creatives, but none of them have made a career out of being an artist or working in the creative field. My mom and dad are extremely blue-collar, and practical – they didn’t really understand being an “artist” or my wanting to pursue a career in the arts (I think they thought I’d always be broke). They always told me that I needed to learn a “practical skill” – like nursing (which I tried, and failed miserably at).

When I dropped out of my nursing degree (let’s be honest, that was never going to fulfil me), and decided to switch to a fine art degree in installation art – my mother nearly died (but bless her, she always supported me even through the grief haha).

I took this as sort of a “challenge” to overcome, and to hopefully succeed on a path that I loved (and selfishly prove everyone from my small town wrong). I think as artists, or individuals working in creative fields – we often get down-played as not technical, educated, or business-minded. I’ve been lucky to have met some of the most hard-working, and intelligent people through the years working within the arts.

Creative careers are so valuable and multi-dimensional, and I have learned SO many important skills through studying, and working for the past 8 years in various creative roles. I’ve been so lucky to see first-hand incredible art shows while working in galleries, and now I’m lucky to work on incredibly large and exciting sets for editorial, creative, and commercial campaigns. I currently work as a Creative Producer for a Melbourne based street-wear label, and have also started a production agency within the fashion/commercial industry and work as a freelance Producer, and Set Designer. I would love to one day tackle films (stay tuned!).

I feel so incredibly lucky to get to call this my “career” – and hope that as a community, we can push young people to see value within the arts and to pursue MORE jobs within the industry!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think my art has shifted a lot over the years… I started off wanting to be a commissioned artist, working mostly in installation. I mostly work with text in various forms – projections, on walls, or within random stuff like temporary tattoos.

After university, and since entering the industry, I worked my way through a few galleries; managing and curating, while also curating shows with a friend in my spare time. I think this just stemmed from me wanting to showcase my friends art. After making my way to the commercial gallery world (and not liking a lot that it stood for), I became a free-lance Set Designer, working mostly in the art and music scene.

I somehow ended up as a Producer within the fashion industry and love this new challenge! Post fine-arts degree I studied business; a great mentor of mine told me that it takes a boss to run a gallery (not just a bunch of artists), and I wanted to do both. Producing and art directing for me, marries the two worlds.

I still work a lot within the installation world (within my own practice), and love working with light, text, and performance (when I can find the time).

I think I was able to get to where I am through A LOT of hard work – and taking all of the opportunities that came my way. Always say yes, and always take every opportunity as a chance to learn. Also, it’s super important to share the knowledge and opportunities with those around you! It takes a village, really.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to the arts district in Southbank, Melbourne – the National Gallery of Victoria (some incredible shows there), Australian Contemporary Centre for the Arts, and Buxton Contemporary are all within walking distance and the curation is insanity.

I would also take them to the north-side, where you will find the best bars, and places to eat. Honestly. we’re spoiled for choice here in Melbourne!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout all of my incredibly hard-working, smart as hell, boundary-pushing creative friends!

Dion and Liv – you’ve been there through it all.

Jaim, for pushing me to always see my artistic worth.

My mother for never giving up on me, or my wild dreams!

My work colleagues who listen to my weird ideas – shout out to the HoMie crew.

And the wider art community here in Melbourne – who always push each other to succeed, and see value in supporting the “under-dog”. I love you all.

Instagram: @neonpoems + @homie.creative

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