Matthew Shelton Biography
Matthew Shelton was born in South Carolina in 1974. Following two years at Berry College in
Rome, Georgia, he pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Art Academy of
During his years in Cincinnati, he pursued both music and art with
equal instensity. As leader of his
bands The Cat Lovers, Me or the
Moon, and M.Shelton’s Picnic, he garnered praise for his inventive
approach to folk music, using both traditional solo guitar, and more
idiosyncratic approaches to songwriting and performance by playing the African
mbira, and forming odd chamber music groups featuring bassoon, bass clarinet,
piano, saxaphone, and strings. He
also was founding member of the Image Afrobeat Band, playing the electric mbira
for this large ensemble for the first five years of its existence.
Along with his musical output, he made and exhibited a varying body of
artwork during his time in Cincinnati.
His whimsical, folk art and comic book influenced Women and Kitties
series found considerable attention in non-traditional venues like bars, hair
salons, video stores, and cafes.
In 2004, Shelton began his groundbreaking lightbox work that continues
to this day. Using a technique of
the artist’s own creation, these works feature a meticulous attention to
detail, with patterns comprised of thousands of holes, creating mandala-inspired,
jewel-like images of light and pattern. These works have been exhibited in numerous venues since,
thrilling both seasoned art connoisseurs and casual viewers.
In the summer of 2010, Shelton relocated to Chicago, and continues to
create and exhibit his lightboxes in his new home city. His music projects continue as
well. The summer of 2011 found
Shelton working throughout the city as a street performer, and the creation of
a Chicago chapter of his chamber-folk project The Picnic.