Artist Vitus Shell (MFA studio art 08) is Louisiana Life Magazine’s Louisianian of the Year.
The mixed-media collage painter from Monroe, a visiting assistant professor at Louisiana Tech University, is a stand out in his profession who gives back and represents what’s best about the Pelican State.
The January/February 2022 issue describes him as “a remarkable artist who explores the African-American experience through strong, compelling, and often unsettling images of Black contemporary life in America. It is art driven by irony, activism, and his notion of Black ‘coolness.’”
Shell explains: “My paintings are geared toward the Black experience, giving agency to people from this community through powerful image deconstruction, sampling and remixing identity, civil rights, and contemporary Black culture. My artistic goal is to exude the hip-hop lifestyle with a Southern vernacular.
“In my art I’m trying to understand myself through community, through history, through family, through other people’s stories, and through broader conversations within my Black culture.”
The UM alumnus’ paintings have been featured in shows with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York City. Shell held prestigious artist residencies at the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, and most recently at the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts in New Berlin, New York.