Old friends team up for art show in Dunbar


Appearing through Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Dunbar Hall Art Gallery is the work of Vitus Shell and Joey Slaughter. Slaughter is currently an art professor at Louisiana Tech University, however he has also taught at Grambling from 2003 to 2007. His mother is  employed at Grambling State. 

Shell is also an art professor here at Grambling State University. Shell came to Grambling in February 2012. Shell is more of a spontaneous artist where Slaughter likes planning.  

These two artists met at Memphis College of Art in Tennessee in 1996 and they still remained close friends. Though the art exhibits are disconnecting and contrasting, these two individuals style of art actually correlate each other; with sharing the same passion for their art professions. Their first exhibit was called “Out Side In.” The concept was about bringing graffiti murals or street art from the outside to the inside in which each artist used the wall space for their canvas. Slaughter and Shell were recipients of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant 

Shell is a native of  Monroe and attended Wossman High School. He has been an artist since the age of 4 and had his first art show at 7 or 8 in his bedroom. While attending Memphis College, his dean, Alonzo Davis, introduced him to Brenda Joy-Smith, whom had worked on the Cosby Show. But, her husband Robert taught him the ins and outs of the art industry. He is now represented by Clair Oliver Gallery in New York. Shell’s realistic depictions tell a story of a hiphop culture that has embraced what was once known to Blacks as vulgar and offensive language and is now used to describe each other. 

 While in college, Shell studied Egon Schiele, who is one of his favorite artists and is where Shell draws most of his inspiration. He is also inspired by an average everyday person, the cultures and hiphop music. The first picture I saw of Shells was to the right when I entered in the gallery. It was called “Fame Gang Installation, Paper, Acrylic and Gold Enamel on Wood, Various Size Circles 2012.”  

The concept of Slaughter’s art is communication.  There was one painting in this series I liked most, but due to a scheduling conflict he was unable to elaborate on the painting. 

The work of Slaughter that I liked the most is “Port of call.”  To me this picture was simple but complex at the same time. I saw the art seemed to be made with Basic shapes, lines and all colors. 

“Disconnect Notice” is about the failure of communication and how it affects us in our everyday lives.  But did we take the time to stop and notice? Overall, I can tell that a lot of thought and work went into each picture to tell its own story of “Disconnect Notice.”