How Artist Sheila Keene is Empowering Women
I’ve always had a love for mixed media and collage art. In fact, when I first started my interior design career, I was also teaching collage art classes at a scrapbooking store in Toronto. (Remember when scrapbooking was cool, back in 2006?) My art always involved mixed-media backgrounds with meaningful quotes or song lyrics, so when I was introduced to Macon artist Sheila Keene I knew we were kindred spirits and I immediately fell in love with her work.
Sheila (known as She) is the creative force behind A Girl Like Me Art and a fierce believer in girls and women. When she became a single mom to her two-year-old daughter, She aimed to challenge the stereotypes and gender inequalities that women face and empower her daughter to achieve any dream she desired and overcome any obstacle in her way.
5 Questions with Artist Sheila Keene
Sheila shares how her work crushes gender norms, the hidden element in each of her paintings, and why her favorite medium to work in makes her feel like a total badass.
What are you known for? Describe your artistic style in 3 words.
My brand is “A Girl Like Me…” art. I am known for creating art with a female focus and a message of empowerment. And, in each piece of art, I always include a slightly hidden date. The date represents a date in “herstory” that a woman performed a fantastical feat for the rest of us ladies. Part of the fun in buying one of my pieces is to “find the date” and figure out what it means. I believe girls and women ROCK, and I’d love for my art to play a part in crushing gender norms and changing the way the world views females.
My artistic style is whimsical, meaningful, layers-layers-layers.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
I graduated from GA Tech and spent more than 20 years as a Robotics Programmer and a Software Developer. I didn’t start creating art until I retired about five years ago! However, I have always been creative and I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. I suppose those two traits smashed into each other and “A Girl Like Me…” art was born.
What’s your favorite medium to work in, and why?
I have two favorites. The first is Mixed Media and the reason is simple… I don’t have formal art training, so for me, mixed media is a dream. There are no rules! My second favorite is encaustic painting which involves painting with hot wax and colored pigments to create these beautiful and ethereal pieces. Working with hot wax also requires a blow torch, which I find quite bad-ass and empowering.
What piece are you most proud of?
A favorite is a large painting I created from a photo of my daughter Kaeleigh when she was a senior in high school. She is twirling around, full of joy and adventure, and this particular photo is just a dazzling depiction of her. I painted her long, dark hair with streaks of vibrant colors to represent her happiness. Another favorite is a small piece I created in honor of RBG. I added the words, “When There Are Nine.”
What other artists inspire you?
What tips do you have for homeowners when choosing art for their homes?
I like choosing art that makes me feel something… that “something” can be happiness, joy, inspiration, passion, empowerment, sadness, ambition, pride, etc. Then, whenever I walk into the room where the art is displayed, I feel that emotion. Such a cool thing! So, I would encourage homeowners to choose art for their spaces that make them “feel” something.
She’s girl-power artwork is available in Macon, GA at Travis Jean Emporium, as well as thirteen other emporiums, galleries, gift shops, and boutiques across the US. You can also purchase her art at agirllikemeart.com, and @agirllikemeart on Instagram.