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Meet Kent Sheely

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kent Sheely.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I went to college hoping to get a career in graphic design but didn’t make it into the program as there weren’t enough spots available. In a twist of fate, I was recruited for my art school’s brand-new media program, where I learned a vast majority of the technical skills I use today. I also discovered very quickly that contemporary artists had been using video games as an artistic medium for several years, which was a practice I fell into naturally. After I graduated, I was able to get a job in web design, making my own art on the side, and that’s where I find myself today.

Please tell us about your artwork.
My work focuses on the complex relationship between humans and digital environments (generally video games), and how spending time in simulated worlds can drastically change the way we think about and engage with reality.

My approach and methods is always different; sometimes the process involves inducing glitches in software to create abstract art, while other times it’s about seeing what happens when you break the rules of a game and play it the “wrong” way.

Some major recurring themes are the subversion of violence and warfare in video games, and the evolving nature of social spaces online. I try to bring a sense of humor into my work, but the message is always the most important.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
The most important measure of success as an artist isn’t how popular you are on social media, or how much money you’re pulling in by selling your finished work. As long as you’re continuing to make art and always striving to improve your skills, you’re on the right path.

The best advice I could give to emerging artists today is to avoid boxing yourself in by thinking you should only be learning one set of skills; always keep an open mind and be willing to take creative risks.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m always adding new projects to my website at kentsheely.com, and I try to post both finished pieces and works-in-progress to my Twitter feed (@ksheely) whenever I can. That’s also where I announce upcoming shows that feature my work, and any events I might be attending in the near future. You can support me by following me there and giving my work a boost whenever you can!

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