For Shelita, everything is about art.
In the mind of this lively 32-year-old single mother, a supposition in the form of a dream – like that time when she dreamt how her son held onto her with his index finger whilst still being pregnant, can lead to the most creative of artworks.
She is the kind of visual artist that appears very complex in demeanor whose work is the mark of a genius.
Shelita, who bears a German surname Dietrich, was born and raised in the quiet community of Above Rocks, in St Catherine. Shelita, in a recent video call interview via WhatsApp, with Jamaica Today, spoke about her motherhood, career and love.
“Art came into my life. I have been drawing from around age six. My mother made a big deal out of it when she saw that I could draw. I developed it during high school then it kind of faded out when I joined the corporate world to work,” said Shelita, who is affectionately called “Dolly” and “Gifted Hands” by her peers.
The gift that those in her close circle have
noticed has so far done wonders for her. In 2016, Shelita won an award for Fine Arts at ceremony hosted by the Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism, at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa Jamaica.
She has also done projects for several noticeable companies, as well as the Ministry of Finance. Shelita also did the illustrations on Irvin Miller’s book of poems, Poetic Depth; Chronicles of a Hueman, which is available on Amazon.
Add a couple of appearances on local television, tutoring classes for still-life and portrait drawings and sketching two logos for international companies (Peace In Nature; a natural skin-care product company and Syncd2U; a dating website business) and you get a healthy CV for this fast-rising artist who only got serious with her trade in 2015.
That’s the year when she decided to register Shelita’s Art World, after years of self-teaching and a three-month still-life and figure drawing course completed at Edna Manley College in Kingston.
“After I got pregnant with my son I got a vison and drew what came into my vision and it was from there the love came back and I decided to take things seriously,” she said while adjusting herself in a chair at her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Aside from drawing, Shelita does murals, face painting, body art, logo designs, illustrations, fashion designs and make up artistry.
But her dream is to one day open a state-of-the-art gallery, beneficial to women with similar background to hers.
“My dream is to own a gallery, and at that gallery I want most single mothers who are creatives like myself. The gallery is going to be multi-functional and will have a center to teach kids. So, if an investor was to show an interest that is where the money will go,” Shelita said.
The more-than-an-hour-long interview, which sometimes felt like a chit chat, gave this author the chance to read up the former Merl Grove High School graduate. The findings weren’t so linear.
“I am introverted but can be social. I am a risk taker, a go getter and dream chaser. I am fun, but miserable because I have a low tolerance level,” she said. And she was right.
Shelita describes her son, 6-year-old Zohier Nelson, as the center of her gravity.
“My inspiration for art came back through my son, other from that it is everything; people, emotions, nature etc,” she added.
Shelita and her son migrated to the states in 2017. Though his father still plays a role in his life, she has had to take of the boy on her own for the most part. It is an experience she has welcomed with both arms open.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “It can be a rough experience because the boy just does not stay one place but it is an experience I love more and more with each passing day,” she added.
Like a lot of other Jamaican children, Shelita grew up without her father. She also has had to deal with a fair amount of heartbreaks in her quest to find love. But she has been using these emotional setbacks as platforms to be motivated.
“I have gone through a lot. Starting from a young age I did not have my father around. I know him, he is alive but that is about it. I have been through the regular relationship difficulties and had to overcome them. I get extremely motivated and creative when I go through pain, I should not say this because I might invite on myself more pain,” she said.
Sometimes all it takes for man to find his purpose is through pain and struggle. Without a doubt, Shelita believes her experience has led her to hers.