Statement

Art can reflect. Art can transform. Art can reveal. Edwin Shelton combines an assortment of discarded and new materials to investigate forms, layers, and meaning. These wall panels share themes involving memories and life experiences. He investigates creating layers like time builds decade after decade. The artworks show his enthusiasm for his family, friends, travels, and spiritual enrichment.

His panels are fabricated to be presented on the wall. He intentionally avoids stretched canvases. Edwin Shelton’s work can be rolled up like a banner for transportation. He can create larger pieces with his approach. The layers of materials make references to a quilt structure. The combinations of materials usually creates an uneven surface that allows the acrylic paint to puddle unusually. Sometimes the panels have brocade Chinese characters in the composition. He has utilized Google Translate for the Chinese characters.

Edwin Shelton’s recent artworks originates from a four- week teaching experience a little over a year ago in Zibo, China. Edwin Shelton discovered a welcoming new world as a Western art teacher.  He observed for the first week. Shelton created art lesson plans that supported English instruction when he taught art classes of about sixty students in a middle school of over three thousand students. The school has about two hundred teachers. He had teachers who served as translators in the classroom while he performed for the very focused and disciplined middle school students. Edwin Shelton could only say “hello” and “thank you” in Chinese. The trip concluded with two days in Beijing. He and Laurel Izard, his wife enjoyed learning about jade, silk, and the Forbidden City. The exceptional tour included the Great Wall.

This amazing opportunity was made possible through the international teacher exchange program at Marquette Catholic High School in Michigan City, Indiana. For over five years, international students have been attending Marquette with one to two support teachers also living on the campus. The school also hosts “campers” from other countries, who visit for about ten days to two-weeks. Marquette Catholic High School also encourages other multi-cultural educational opportunities with Marquette student trips to other foreign countries.

Edwin Shelton says, “The biggest gift from teaching in Zibo, China wasthe friendships that developed with the teachers and principal.”  He still uses WeChat (similar to Facebook on the phone) to stay in touch. He hopes to return to China not as a tourist, but as an art teacher again Zhangdian Experimental Middle School.