Joe Shelton is a visual and musical artist who resides and works in Columbus, Mississippi. His award-winning work has been featured in shows and galleries throughout the United States.
He began his artistic journey while a student at East Mississippi Community College, where he was encouraged to embrace and nurture his creative spirit by his mentor Jon Whittington. Shelton continued his studies in studio art at Mississippi State University, where he was awarded the Undergraduate Painting Award at the 1975 Mississippi Collegiate Competition, and as a graduate student in printmaking at Northern Illinois University, where he held a graduate teaching assistant position.
Shelton is a two-time Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Fellowship recipient, a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist’s Roster and a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Folk Life/Folk Art Directory. For 30 years, his glass studio, Mid-South Stained Glass, has created stained, beveled, etched, and leaded glass panels for churches, businesses and homes throughout the region.
In addition to his artwork, he also is known as recording artist Big Joe Shelton, a blues singer, songwriter and harmonica player. Shelton is included on the Columbus/Catfish Alley Mississippi Blues Trail Marker, and the title track of his 2012 release, The Older I Get The Better I Was, garnered a nomination for song of the year at the 33rd Blues Music Awards Ceremony presented by the Blues Foundation of Memphis, Tennessee.
His music has been at the top of numerous worldwide radio charts and has received rave reviews in national and international blues publications. The Columbus native has performed at festivals and clubs throughout the United States. He also has toured England, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands.
“The Mannequin Series are manipulated photo digital collages depicting a surreal, fantasy world inspired by an antique mannequin discovered at a yard sale. In #3 thru #10 the figure is juxtaposed within an environment reminiscent of the classical paintings of Renaissance masters, while the African masks pay homage to Picasso’s fascination with them in many of his works.
These manipulated photo digital collages were created using Photoshop computer software to create an illusion of seamlessly blended reality.
The music themed photographs were shot during years of my ramblings as a blues musician.”