When the words “spray paint” and “ASU” are placed in the same sentence, one usually assumes vandalism or graffiti. However, in this instance, freshman civil engineering student Jason Shelton calls it art.
Shelton, who can be found painting on the benches in the Hassayampa Residential Community courtyard during the afternoon, uses spray paint to create vibrant and detailed paintings.
Shelton began using spray paint last year to create paintings ranging from outer space landscapes to stenciled logos of NFL teams. With both of his parents being professional artists, Shelton says the inspiration to begin painting was due to artistic genes.
“My mom is now a kitchen designer, and my dad is a graphic designer who does baseball art that is now in museums. So, I really wanted to do something of my own,” Shelton said.
Shelton began with graffiti art on poster boards, but when trying to paint the archaic fonts didn’t turn out so well, Shelton began experimenting.
“I had all this paint and poster board lying around after failing at graffiti, so I began to experiment, and I tried to paint a space landscape. It ended up turning out really well, so I just kind of started from there,” Shelton said.
Shelton began with painting solo objects and then transitioned to painting landscapes. Through much practice, Shelton has acquired many techniques and has found that using everyday objects enhances his art. Bowls, frisbees and funnels help Shelton achieve elaborate and colorful planets, whereas old newspapers and scraps of paper help him achieve transitioning effects for painting things like water and the sky. Shelton even designs his own stencils to produce animals and various logos.
However, one late Friday afternoon, he began to create a painting of Spider-Man overlooking the New York City skyline. Shelton, donned in a gas mask and an ASU T-shirt covered with specs of color from many days of painting, showed the step-by-step process on how spray paint art is created.
Shelton spray paints different layers and uses a bowl to create a transition effect that makes the moon look as if it were a NASA photo.
To achieve a shooting star, Shelton angles a painter’s spatula on a poster, positions the spray paint can upside down and sprays to create a ricochet effect of a shooting star.
The painting of the reflection of New York City in Spider-Man’s eye is finished after a remarkable 10 minutes. Viewing the painting from a good distance away is one thing, but when viewed closer, the skillful techniques make the painting look even more photo-like.
After painting for only seven months, Shelton’s spray paint art has been featured in galleries, including Aside of Heart in the downtown Phoenix arts district. Depending on the size of the painting, the price of each art piece ranges from $10 to $20. Shelton has not only sold his art in Arizona, but also in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Maryland.
The skillful spray paint art of Jason Shelton Designs can be seen at the First Fridays Art Walk in Phoenix every first Friday of the month.
Artistic ingenuity is definitely abundant on this campus, and Shelton is another example of how ASU students are taking art to a new level.
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