~ ART SHOWS ~

NOTE:

There is a limited record of the shows I had with the art dealer who represented me for 17 years 

1994 Crashing Thunder, Gallup NM

1995 Crashing Thunder, Gallup NM

1996 Barnes And Nobel at Broadway and Astor Place NYC

1997 Tunnel, NYC

1997 New Age Production (art in NYC storefronts)

1998 Gallery 678 West Broadway NYC

1998 Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, NYC

2000 Group Show, NYC

2000 The Mission, Binghamton NY

2002 Thais Gardens, Lima Peru

2003 Annex Gallery Beverly Kaye Gallery, Connecticut

2004 Open Gallery, Binghamton NY

2005 Night Gallery, Binghamton NY

2005 Outsider Art Fair (OAF), NYC

2006 Grey Carter, McLean VA

2006 OAF, NYC

2007 OAF, NYC

2008 OAF, NYC

2009 OAF, NYC

2010 Objects of Art, McLean VA

2011 Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

2011 OAF, NYC

2012 Art Enables, Washington D.C.

2013 "Out of Towners" Gallery &, Durango Co

2013 OAF, NYC

2013 Pastels, Art 123, Gallup NM

2014 Art 123 Gallup NM

2014 OAF, NYC

2015 The Van Pelt Collection, Las Vegas NV

2015 Grey Carter, McLean Va

2016, OAF, NYC

2018 Reese Museum, Johnson City Tn

2018 OAF, NYC

2022 30 Years of SVP, Crashing Thunder, Gallup NM

​​

Publications ~

1998-2008 Book Cover of The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, Bantam Books

Economist's Daughter by Elizabeth Cohen

Good Times Section of Gannet News papers (USA Today)

NYC Art Guide, (as Pelt)

Review of Outsider Art Fair, 2011, by Andrea Valluzzo

Antique and the Arts Weekly

Self-Taught, Outsider and Folk Art:  Guide to American     Artists, by Betty-Carol Sellen

Raw Vision International Art Magazine (advertisement)

Raw Vision International Art Magazine (advertisement)

The Outsider Art Fair show brochure for two years

Review of the Outsider Art Fair

Objects of Art, Grey Carter

Out of Towners, Durango Herald

Mecum article on Van Pelt's Motorcycle Collection

Savant Gard/ Brut Force Interview

Martini Tattoo (as designer), by Elizabeth Cohen

~ Film, Documentary, Other ~

Documentary on Jonathan Lerman

"First Time I Met Shane Van Pelt" By Kjell Boersma

Photo Essay "Existment" by Carsten Fleck

IMDB credit as writer of film "Monster Slayer" 

Brian Leddy "Shane Van Pelt and his Motorcycles

Photo essay by Raw Vision staff photographer Ted Degener

~ Public Collections ~

High Museum of Art

American Visionary Art Museum

Outsider art and my involvement in the movement (a three page read) I. What is Outsider art?  The simple definition is, Outsider Art is art made outside of academic circles.   Art Brut (Raw Art) is the name given to the movement originally in the 1940’s by the French Artist Jean DuBuffet, although the first noted time fine artists recognise it’s significance was much ealier, in 1912 with the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group.  Later, between 1921 and 1922 there were two books that spread the importance of what would be the foundation of Art Brut to a wider audience.  Both books dealt with art made by mentally ill patients. During the Post Impressionist period (1886-1905), and from the examples given to artists from the Theatre of the Absurd (particularly the play "Ubu Roi") there was a need to find a new way to express one's self, what Duchamp would call "anti-art" to liberate the arts.  One source of inspiration was in art that did not come from artists with academic or fine art pretences, a type of art that was created far from the traditional world of art.  This far sighted vision sought to incorporate the work of so called primitives and naive artists into the work of serious artists, much in the same way Japanese Prints helped inspired Impressionism and Post Impressionism.   “Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.”  Wrote DuBuffet In 1972 and English author transposed the movement’s name from Art Brut to Outsider Art, perhaps to soften the original name.  For a long time the two names meant the same art movement, but after a certain point there was a divergence in particulars about the two names and might connote two branches of the movement (depending upon who one asks). To quote Raw Vision (the largest magazine about the Outsider Art Movement). “The controversy surrounding the exact definition of Outsider Art and allied fields has been going on ever since awareness of the phenomenon began…” Outsider art is perhaps one of the most argued art movement, especially since it entered mainstream popularity.  I hesitate to weigh in on any of the controversy because it is more of a distraction, moving the topic away from my own participation in the movement. ​ II. My involvement with Outsider art movement began somewhere after the mid 1990’s when a famous poet told me she bought one of my paintings, that she collected folk art.  The words "folk art" threw me since I never associated my art with folk art.  When she saw the confusion on my face she mentioned that she meant "Outsider Art."  Still confused, she quickly replied, "Art Brut," an art movement that I had studied under my mentor and felt it held particular ideas that resonated with my own. I felt "Art Brut" was an attempt to reclaimed the act of creation for all humans irregardless of their skills, art education, and participation in the world of so called "fine arts." Art belonged to all humans and not to those with specific pretenses, such as a degree from an art school or having some family pedigree or particular genius. That whatever creative effort a human undertook, good or bad, was an expression, a communication. That it could and should be defined as art. The Poet continued to describe Outsider art as the punk rock of art, the rebels, or as the only genre really saying anything anymore. I was sold, she must be right about where I fit in as an artist, I must be an Outsider artist!  I went out and bought a book on Outsider art, and discovered that I resonated with very little of the art in the book. This caused a pause in my mind, making me wonder if I resonated enough with the movement to call myself an Outsider Artist. I decided to go with it, not fully sure. I did view the work I had brought to New York City from New Mexico (my first body of work began at age 17) as being naive, unrefined and lacking any real direction, other than it was a means to experiment and learn the craft. But I didn't see it as some positive. Instead it was these same attributes that was forcing me to rethink my next body of work, began in 1997 for the largest show I would have yet in the city. My early work did sell, which actually beguiled me. Yet in hindsight I can see how apt it was to call the work I brought to NYC "Outsider art" and why it sold. Outsider Art thrives on a naive like vision.  Even thirty years later the only remaining piece of art I have from that time period hangs on my wall and quickly drew the attention of the photographer from Raw Vision magazine when he visited my studio.   Months after this conversation with the poet, I was getting prepared for another show in NYC. I often passed out postcards of my work to people walking around the art districts on 57th street and in Soho.  Chelsea didn’t exist as an art district back then.  I made it a habit of handing out my postcards to the galleries since you never know, maybe the work would strike a gallery enough to give me a show.  Trying on my new association with Outsider art when asked what sort of art I am doing, I found myself faced with a very negative reaction from one of the gallery representatives towards Outsider art.  I got an impression that perhaps the hostility was more about what the movement stands for, as it is often seen as anti-academic which can threaten traditional ideas that an artist belongs to an exclusive club. I have pondered this moment over the years just because it is rare for art to provoke an extreme reaction.  The outcome made me think that perhaps I was somehow insulting and isolating those in the industry of selling art, which isn't what I wanted to do. When it came time for the show I had passed out postcards for there was no mention of me being an Outsider artist.  Nor was there any mention of me being an Outsider artist for another four or five years afterwards.   In either 2002 or 2003 the mother of a very famous Outsider Artist named Jonathan Lerman began to champion my work.  She turned the larger Outsider art movement onto my work.  This led to a world of selling art, of being used as a gallery’s advertisement in Raw Vision Magazine, and I began to get shows.  It was also an introduction to others in the business.  I even got to talk to Henry Boxer, a well known art dealer in the UK with great taste.  Most of the people who came through my door pressured me to sell my unfinished pieces as they were, he was the only one to recognise and respect that I am still working on the pieces and asked me to speak to him when the work was done.   I never did. Another well known art dealer from D.C. traveled the 300 hundred miles to my studio to see my work, it happened to be the art dealer who represented a number of the artists from the book about Outsider Art I had bought in NYC, and those artists I had resonated with, the "Self Taught" artists. With his pending visit I put in the extra work to finish a good number of paintings. It paid off, he took 30 pieces with him.  This would begin a 17 year journey with Grey Carter that was often fruitful in terms of sales and exposure to my work.  Hundreds of thousands of people saw my work.  And often times he would sell 90-80% of my work he showed for a period of time (the market crash of 2008 put a huge dent in art sales, although I was surprised that I still sold paintings, and the recovery was slow).  He would facilitate shows in museums and include me in shows across the USA.  I have no idea how many shows I have had or where they were located.   III. Outsider art is not like many art movements throughout history, like Surrealism, where all the artists subscribe to a specific aesthetic, or where there is a goal to create art in the spirit of this aesthetic.  Outsider art is well known for the diversity of aesthetics. This has changed over time to where there seems to be a trend in mastering an "Outsider look." The movement is saturated with artists who seem to be parodying the work of ealier visonaries instead of defining aesthetics on their own terms by seeking their own unique voice within the movement. Going back to Dubuffet’s words, “Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.” Movements change as new generations of artist discover and translate what they see into new art. It is my hope we do not see the end of aesthetic diversity in the movement. Historically there was never a singular vision but rather a host of diverse voices and vision that created the cannons of the movement. ​ IV. There is something to be said of an art movement that is still being debated, still analysed over 100 years since its recognition.  It is a movement that inspired and enabled many of the artist in the Post Impressionist years and beyond to discover what anti-art could look like and in what spirit it is created.  There is a long list of masterful works and artists of the last 100 years or more who have taken directions from Outsider artists, including myself, who simply expressed themselves without any concern with other people’s tastes, trends, or prospects of a retail value. If allowed, Outsider art is a foundation, a means to explore the freedom of being a creative human. It is a tool to use, not a specific aesthetic. ​ What is considered amongst the first modernist art movements, Impressionism and Symbolism, expressed something completely different than before.  With the fairly recent invention of the camera (1840-1880's), artists were no longer concerned with preserving history and telling someone else's stories, a new reality opened up.  Instead of painting a record of what we see with our eyes, artists began to record what they saw without eyes.  To make the emphasis on how our intellect, imagination and emotion viewed our world.     ​ Outsider Art has the potential to be equally revolutionary to the artists. As mentioned, it has inspired generations of artists for over 100 years, it helped form the visions of many of the Modernist artists and gave an answer for the quest for anti-art: That anti art is not an aesthetic, but rather an approach to creation. For me, it freed me from the thought process of making art and replaced it with an intuitive process that is built on being human. Outsider Art has been a democratising force in the art world by extending the invitation to be creative and taking it seriously. It also provides art lovers the world wide an alternative to the work shown in contemporary art galleries that can often be distant, impersonal, confusing, or staid.   Thank you for reading,  svp

CAREER

~ 

1: Early Years (one and a half page read) I. I began my professional career in 1992, opening my first studio in Gallup New Mexico at age seventeen. New Mexico has a robust history of artistic culture starting long before the Taos and Santa Fe artist colonies began in the early 1900’s, which attracted people like T.S. Elliot, Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams, and many others. The region I live in is far from the more acculturated side of New Mexico. It is a region dominated by Native American Reservations that at times resembles more of the old west, raucous and unruly. It is a place where family connections and reputation had more currency. In my town, growing up, was a group of about a dozen elder artists who had mostly made names for themselves in Santa Fe, Sedona, or even in Eastern cities, like Montreal and NYC. One had won a prestigious award for his sculptures. Amongst this group was my uncle, newly moved to the area. The idea that one could be an artist was a very real prospect and even to some degree a part of my culture growing up. I came to art through personal choices born from hardships and gave me a direction. I was naturally talented, but like many who have talent, here in the USA one is urged to put your energy into careers that are financially rewarding. While I had examples of successful artists all around me (the top earner sold his paintings for $50,000), I wasn’t so naive to think I too would be successful. I didn’t have some romantic notion of being an artist, I made art because I connected to it on a very deep level. I knew monetary success would be a long shot. My uncle, Armando Alvarez became my mentor for five years. He had been an art educator on the Navajo Reservation and had become well known more for his public sculptures than the paintings, which his paintings was the bulk of his focus. He had made a sculpture for the L.A. Zoo, of which I helped in a small degree, but most of his public works dot the state of New Mexico, one is in my hometown. II. Art history became the topic of most of our conversations. He would introduce me to new artists and movements while I introduced him to the music of my generation. The lesson on art history was far beyond a comprehensive survey. I learned more than the artists names, the movements, and the style, but the political, religious, the art movements, and other considerations that artist were reacting against or in support of. He spoke about the tricks some of the artists used, the innovate ideas, and the personal lives of some of the key artists. It was a far more in-depth than any university level class. He passed on his love of art history to me. On my journey I was starting from near zero. I had natural talent and painted and worked in various mediums during my school years. I could draw perfect rendering of people and object with great detail. I had even focused on graphic arts after I had been singled out to receive the scholarship to the Art Institute of Seattle. I had spent some semesters learning about graphic arts in a time when the computer had not yet been the standard tool used. This meant I learned how to make homemade paper, create watermarks, marble paper, engrave and make different types of prints, and how to translate these into logos and other print material. However the direction my life would take me destroyed any hopes of finishing school let alone go on to University level studies. My understanding of art was based off what I was exposed to, which was classical, based on realism. I was ignorant about modern art and rejected it due to a lack of understanding it. It was important for me to render objects and people as realistically as I could and it kept me hung up for a couple of years. However, realism was important enough to where once I could consistently achieve this level of perfection, I felt I could move on to other interests. For the first year I primarily made pastels and oil pastels, painting was a challenge for me, which wasn’t something I expected since during my school years my oil paintings were good. I had began to paint professionally with acrylics, which was the problem as it didn’t suit my process. I took time on my paintings whereas the quick drying times of acrylics was a hinderance. Through education, the lessons my uncle provided, I learned to understand modern art more, and eventually that understanding grew into a passion. Within a couple of years my influences switched from the staid old cannons of masters to modern masters, like Chagall, Hundertwasser, Klee, and the overlooked surrealist Viktor Brauner. Part of my influences came from those artists I personally knew who inspired me, such as Abel Galvin, an artist from Mexico, and Sebastian Picker from Chilé. My mentor never taught me how to paint, in fact he made it very clear that discovering how and what to paint belonged to me. III. Although Santa Fe, a major art market in the USA is only three hours away, my concern was never with having shows or making sales. I would have a few solo shows and did sell paintings during this time as more of a byproduct of the path I was on. I spent a good deal of time in Santa Fe getting to know various artists and even gallery owners who were part of our little scene. When I needed to pay for gasoline after partying in Santa Fe, I would walk around the Plaza and Canyon Road and sell drawings for $10 as the gallery was opening. In my first four or five years as an artist my main focus was learning the craft, workshop practises, and educating myself about art. The idea of creating a style was something that utterly boggled my mind. I had created a large body of work that neared 100 pieces (60 were paintings). I would create some stellar paintings from this time, which all sold, the majority of the work was constantly being reworked and at times painted over long after I left NM, indeed, I have two paintings from that time period that are unfinished, one I am still working on, the other I’m keeping as a time capsule. There came a point in time (age 24) when I knew that if I wanted to grow as an artist I would need to leave New Mexico. While NM has a robust culture of art, back then it was mainly themed around Southwestern and Native American artwork. There were (as far as I knew) only two galleries that showed contemporary art only at the time.

2. NYC (half a page read) I moved to NYC at age 24 within a month of turning 25. My career started off with a number of instant successes. In fact I was having so much early success in NYC that I simply thought this is how it was in the city, never realising that my peers were not having anywhere near the success I was having, one had been in the city for seven years and still couldn’t get a gallery to give her a show. My first year of being in the city I would have three shows, in the next year I was commissioned by Bantam Publishers to design the book cover of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, I had one big show and offers to have three other shows. More importantly was the introduction to a Chelsea gallery who was offering representation. I also signed up with an art dealer who’s claim to fame was selling art to the Trump family. However by year three I had basically walked away from the art world. At the time Chelsea had not emerged as “THE” art district of NYC, so while I didn’t know it at the time I had essentially tore up my “Golden Ticket” My reasons might be hard to understand, nor do I find it easy to explain in a condensed way. Essentially what happened is that I had an art show where I needed more work to fill the space, it would turn out to be an important show, as celebrities showed up, and the show before me at this new gallery had been an artist who was introduced to me as the most famous artist from India. To fill the gallery I had to work hard to make new works, which was mostly pastels and oil pastels. This began a development the style of art I am now known for. I wanted more time to develop this further. So after the success of the art show I canceled any show or representation. In a nutshell, the work I was mostly showing prior to this big show had been art I brought from NM, work I produced between age 18 and 24 at the start of my journey, and I had already sold the best pieces out of the body of work. What was left was the work I was less proud of. In hindsight after my decades with the Outsider Art Movement I think I was over critical of my early work, of which those not sold only exist on slides. In some ways these experiences gave me an understanding and a taste of what could come in the future. I recognised that in a relatively short amount of time I had reached a level where I could feel secure about my future prospects of being an artist. And I would have bigger shows ahead of me in NYC….

3. Outsider Art (less than half a page) After leaving the NYC art scene, within about two years I began to meet collectors and others involved with the Outsider Art movement, including the mother of a very famous Outsider artist. Eventually I was surrounded by dealers who wanted to buy my work to resale or to represent me. A gallery bought my work and then asked if the gallery could use my images for ads in “Raw Vision,” an international magazine devoted to Outsider Art. One very big and well known gallery who wanted to represent me wanted to make sure I was “Outsider” enough by asking me intrusive questions about “What my problems are” i.e. did I have Autism or some mental illness? I handed the phone to my then wife, claiming to the gallery that she could tell them my problems better than I could. I had my first interview and article about me, and a well known art dealer was interesting in coming up to seeing my work for possible representation. Although I was not really showing in the biggest art market on earth, NYC, I was having more meaningful shows with a group of artists that I still keep in contact with to this day. During the three years of sorting out my style I had only one big show, actually a huge “regional première” of my works in a small city in NY, where the mayor bought a painting. I had become a leader amongst other artists had a group gather about me. I had played a big role in developing the local art scene, a scene in which the NY Times did an article “Can Art Save A Town” and a documentary was made about a child artist “My Kid Can Paint That” which my then wife took part of. I did get on camera, but the footage was never used. There even came a point when there was a perceived rivalry with a very famous painter who’s works sold for over $100,000 a painting.

4. New Mexico (less than a half a page) At age twenty nine I signed on with an art dealer who was legendary for the artists he represented. The majority of the artists he represented were known masters of the Outsider art genre. I remained represented by him for seventeen years where I did achieve some very high points. With museum shows under my belt I suppose I became a Modern Master of the Outsider Art movement. I was part of shows where over 15,000 people attended in NYC, interviews, reviews, and many many sales. I had made it my vow to come back to NM once I could financially could, and so I did, helping to create the art scene in my hometown. In the last number of years, at the time of writing this, my career is in a transition. Some of this is forced, the Covid pandemic caused cancelations of shows. My art dealer of 17 years retired, leaving me a free agent at perhaps the worse time possible. I was invited to live in France and be represented by a gallery in a cute artsy town. But instead I have used this time to focus on finishing 1paintings from a body of work that has grown to over 500 paintings. I plan to be more of a participant in my own career, whereas before I allowed others free rein. I’m taking more care of my career in a way I had not since I was in my 20’s. I am back to finding shows and representation. But I think with my career being as strong as it has been for my whole life, I doubt I will have to look too long for what I seek. Thank you for reading svp