Shelley Miller is a Montreal-based artist who works both in public spaces and works with the public, creating permanent commission artworks as well as ephemeral sugar murals and community-engagement projects. Shelley has been working with sugar as a medium for nearly 18 years, using it to address ideas of taste, desire, consumer culture, excess and greed. Her work with sugar evolved to include murals that address the not-so-sweet history of sugar and its’ roots in slavery and colonization. She continues to use sugar as a material for its richness in cultural meaning, using sugar to address systems of power and corruption.
Since 2010, Shelley has expanded her love of street art and working site-specifically, to include permanent public art commissions to her repertoire. She has created permanent artworks within the healthcare, education, and transportation systems, as well as for private corporations. Shelley’s working process is one of inclusion and collaboration, always taking into consideration her audience and the users of a particular space. Each artwork is designed with site in mind, often incorporating local history or materials that reflect their surrounding. This includes creating artworks that are harmonious with the surrounding architectural materials and style. As project manager she has experience working with architects, engineers, administrators and fabricators to achieve a final artwork that is timeless, yet unique to each space.
Rooted in feminist art practices, Shelley is always looking for ways to give women a bold visual voice in public spaces, often subverting decorative craft practices traditionally associated to women. Sugar is off the cake and quilts are out of the house, prominently displayed on city walls. Community engagement and empowerment are at the heart of Shelley’s mandate and vision; using art to connect people, provoke thought and to empower.