Shanel Gaskin, best known as ‘Nel’, has been creating art passionately and consistently for years now. Gaskin admits she has always involved herself in art since a very young age, but her most prominent work that supporters see today developed in 2014. During that year, Gaskin found the best balance for her work, from the color selection to the design of characters.
Most often, Gaskin’s work is inspired by her own being. “I get inspired when I reflect on my life from the person I was to the person I am now”. She also finds herself heavily influenced by surrounding settings, even at times when driving around her city of Houston, Texas. A masterpiece will begin within her mind, and soon make its way onto a blank canvas.
“Inspiration is endless, it is everywhere and I say that because art is everywhere in our everyday lives”
Designing a new piece seems to flow naturally for Gaskin. She admits she “feels very at ease when creating”. Gaskin even shared that music helps to get her ‘feeling right’, specifically tracks from Kanye West.
When it comes to the characters in Gaskin’s work, she finds them to be the ‘true selves of individuals’. “I created a collection back in 2017 with my brand “AMATI” that was named “UNMASKED” and for some reason since then, the creation of characters has increased.” Gaskin shares. “I believe it occurred due to the amount of people I encountered, the observations I made on behaviors, and even the person I was influenced the making of my characters”.
More than anything, Gaskin celebrates how art has caused her to ‘fall in love with imperfections’. “Nothing that I create is perfect” she says.
Her art displays the beauty of life, understanding that although no one and nothing is perfect, imperfections make it all worth loving. Gaskin hopes viewers celebrate this in her art. “I want them to feel the colors I use, to interpret the hidden or unhidden message that paintings are giving, and to cherish the feeling that the pieces give them” Gaskin adds. “I just want them to feel something”.
“…I am being nothing but my true self. Not trying to be anyone or anything else, when you see me or go to my social media, my website it is all a reflection of who Nel is.” Gaskin shares. “Well, to a certain degree, I have to keep some things a little mysterious, you know?”
Further down the road, Gaskin hopes to showcase her work within a storefront that will include not only her art, but ‘prints, accessories, clothing and shoes’, all created by herself. She also aims to create her own exhibits very soon. “It is overdue” she states.