Intentional. Here at GOODSOUL, that is who we are. Throughout our journey we’ve found ourselves in the company of some absurdly talented and meaningful individuals. GOODSOUL to Know is a way for us to shine a light upon those who inspire us as they take the world by storm by doing what they love.
Meet Shel Nuth – A future with art was never out of the question for this San Francisco (soon to be London)-based illustrator. Growing up, her mother (an artist herself) always encouraged creativity and freedom of expression. As time went on, Shel continued drawing for fun, but it wasn’t until someone inquired about purchasing her work that she considered the possibility of it becoming more.
Now, Shel has grown into her own illustrative style. Her creations are minimal yet full of detail and personality. Inspired by fashion, pop culture, bright colors, and patterns in nature, she creates striking black and white Modigliani-esque portraits set against vibrant pattern-filled backgrounds. Her sense of style, not unlike her portraits, is classic and colorful, best described in her own words as, “sophisticated funky.” We caught up with Shel to chat about her illustrations, style, and why she “can’t feel put together.”How would you describe your style of illustrations to someone who hasn’t seen your work?
Simple lines + patterns, monochromatic colors, slightly distorted features and playful.
Have you always been interested in illustrating portraits? How long did it take for you to arrive at your current style?
Kind of a round-about way. A lot of people ask me about the long necks in a lot of the girls. My grandma always had these Modigliani paintings above her fireplace as a kid. A lot of his women have long necks and dark eyes. They used to scare the crap out of me. When I first started drawing it was clown portraits—like creepy clowns. That wasn’t very popular. Then it developed into anything with slight lines or details. Then it became animals. As of the past year I’ve really wanted to go back to portraits and truly what inspires me—makes me happy to draw. That’s where the ladies come from. It goes back to being a kid and seeing those. The memories and the beauty of feminine figures.
How much of your own personality goes into your illustrations?
A lot. Many of my illustrations, although not me, represent a feeling I’m feeling or a situation I’ve been in.
Can you pinpoint when art became more than a hobby for you?
I knew that I would always do it in my free-time, but [having someone ask about buying a piece] was the clicking point of oh this could be lucrative for me, more than just a hobby; whether I take it to being a full-time artist or going into design.
I work in retail buying right now so there’s kind of a creative outlet and I feel like a lot of the eye you have for balance in illustration work or painting can even come into play for the graphics we choose to put on clothing, the patterns, the colors we choose to put into new prints. That was the point I realized, Oh, this could be more for me than something I do in my free time.
How has your career influenced the way you dress?
I work in retail buying so we are encouraged to dress in a way that makes us feel our best self.
What’s the outfit that makes you feel like the most authentic version of yourself?
I always feel my authentic self but always feel my best self with really, really blonde hair.
What’s your go-to outfit?
Jeans, tee, booties, and something fuzzy.
What is your favorite accessory?
It’s very minimal, but every day I wear this giant gold and black class ring from 1955. Hermitage High in Virginia—that’s where my grandparents went to school. It’s my Granny’s class ring. That’s always on my left hand. Then I always wear this gold bangle with ‘Nuth’ inscribed on it for my last name. A lot of the jewelry I wear is related to my family.Do you have any style icons?
Alexa Chung + Olsen Twins
Have there been any style risks you’ve taken that have translated into your current style?
I kind of just wear whatever I want. I can be completely boho one day, then I can look like Jenna Lyons from J.Crew the next. It kind of is just however I feel. Things that I feel like are a little more risky—I love hats, of any sort, like big hats, sunhats, page boy style hats. I love fuzzy things. I’m pretty much always in a fuzzy jacket or fuzzy sweater of some sorts of ridiculousness.
What’s your favorite thing about your style?
I would say that I kind of like the whole effortless look. I’m not a girl that likes to get all up-done. I can’t feel put together. I was recently in a wedding and had my hair done up all nice where most girls would feel like, Oh, what a beautiful updo, and I felt so uncomfortable. My hair is all ratty, like in the Ashley Olsen, disheveled-blonde wavy way. I think that’s what I like – the disheveled put-together-effortlessness.
What’s the best advice you’ve received? How has that translated to your life?
“When charting your path, be sure to use pencil. Ink doesn’t allow you to change direction.” – Inscription in a journal my older brother gave me. This ultimately the advice I needed to get out of a toxic relationship I was in, quit my shitty job and open an Etsy shop. Life only gets better when you take control of the things you can control.
How would you describe your GOODSOUL?
I want to be remembered as someone that brings joy and kindness to others – a contagious feeling of warmth. I feel like when I’m with my friends there’s a feeling in the air – the air is thick, you can feel the love. I know that sounds super corny, but with my best friends those are the moments I remember. Being kind and radiating that to others.
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GOODSOUL, also known as GDSL is a collection of hand cut garments designed by Mark Michael and his collaborators, Ashley Hayes, Gibran Hamdan. Each piece is released as produced - sign up to be notified of the latest drop.