Mary is known to be a folk artist who uses different mediums such as painting and wood carving. Her work has been described by others as; traditional, naïve, primitive and visionary. She is a self-taught folk artist and is best known for her carvings of waitresses, animals, New York themed pieces as well as other special commissions.
Mary’s work is carved on white rough pine and further designs the work with acrylic paints, finished with an inner gold framed leaf. She was able to develop her design skills from her job as a sign painter and carpenter which furthermore developed her skills with wood work. Mary describes her work personally as “picture diary” or “picture story” as she believes that her works possess a story which is being told.
She has produced over 2000 painted and carved works over time and had her work shown in Jay Johnson Folk Heritage Gallery from 1976 through to 1990 when the gallery was brought to a close.
“My goal is to produce a quality piece of art that will survive and please long past my lifetime – Mary Shelly”