You never know where your journey in life will take you. Such is the case with Shalese Sands who always had a love for art and animals as a young girl growing up in rural Minnesota. Surrounded by family pets and trips to county fairs, Shalese could be found hanging out in the animal barn. Having a particular fondness for horses, many hours would be devoted to the observation of these magnificent creatures, whose elegance and strength captivated her in many ways. Little did Shalese know, that these close encounters would lead to one of her biggest adventures, an African Safari.
Graduating in 2011 from Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN with a BS in Studio Art, Shalese enjoyed working with various art mediums and in 2013 she found the one that resonated with her as an artist – Scratchboard. The art of scratchboard is a medium that is over 100 years old and is considered by many artists to be one of the most difficult and unforgiving of mediums to master. Mistakes are not easily corrected, cannot be erased or painted over and a simple error could destroy hours and months of hard work. Mastering the art of scratchboard has proven successful for Shalese who loved the intricacy, detail and contrast she is able to achieve in her wildlife and equine art.
Inspired by numerous visits to wildlife refuges, game farms and state parks, a visit to Yellowstone National Park something inside Shalese sparked her passion for wildlife and equine art, that is, until she was invited on an African safari. This life changing journey allowed her to study the wildlife in their natural environment, giving Shalese a better opportunity to understand her subjects, which brought a new inspiration and an authenticity to her work. Shalese continues to execute her art with precision and exquisite detail resulting in a portfolio of magnificent artwork. This talented artist has received numerous awards for her outstanding talent and in 2016 Shalese became a Signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, a prestigious organization that represents the world’s best animal artists.