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Artists Shelby and Sandy Are Tugging at Strings of Nostalgia

Written By: Annie Kim
Photographed By: Travis McCoy Shelby and Sandy

When entering the LA-based art studio of Shelby and Sandy, your visual senses are immediately greeted with splatters of clean, vibrant colors and playful patterns carefully laced in an intimate dance between nostalgia and fun. In the span of five years, Shelby and Sandy have brought a new layer into the coveted realm of art by painting classic characters and everyday items with a minimalistic look, fully dressed in a loud pop of euphoric color. They want their art to evoke happiness and melancholy, the kind that takes you back to the simple summer days of chasing after your local ice cream truck with the rowdy neighborhood kids.

The talented artist duo, born and raised in Irvine, California, hit the trifecta of important b-lettered nouns—Brothers, Best friends and Business partners. Ever since they could remember, Shelby and Sandy have been making art their entire lives. They credit their picture-perfect family—mom, dad and a band of four brothers—as the fuel for their desire to tug at the strings of nostalgia. 

“Sandy and I like to paint happiness into our painting. We’re easily able to draw from memories,” said Shelby, the older of the two with a goatee highlighted in a tinge of ginger.

Brainstorming the vision of an art idea may come naturally to the imaginative pair, but their process to create a piece from start to finish is far from easy. From the canvas to the acrylic paint colors, everything is handmade from scratch and crafted by Shelby and Sandy. “We wouldn’t do anything sloppy or half-assed. We always like to make everything we do perfect,” explained Sandy with a half-smile, as his animated mustache grooved along to the movement of his baby-like facial features. “We have to do it Shelby-and-Sandy-style.” 

To Shelby and Sandy, everything in, on or connected with their art piece becomes their art. Over the years, they started to produce their own special acrylic paint solution. Now, with a myriad of 209 color options that all match the standards of their exact hue and vibrancy, they essentially created their own acrylic crayon box. “We make it all. We build everything. It all matters to us,” Sandy added. 

When asked if they have ever been in a creative funk or artistic block, Shelby laughed: “The answer is no. This is our favorite thing. Art is job, hobby, escape and passion.” From building furniture to designing digital art to becoming an art professor later down the road, they are striving to do it all. They have truly mastered the art of, well, art. “I don’t think we can finish all of our ideas in 10 lifetimes,” exclaimed Shelby. “This is Shelby and Sandy’s world. This is just the beginning. We’re just getting started.”

Got It From Their Mama |  Shelby and Sandy’s mother was the big artist in the family. While they were still in strollers, she would take the brothers with her to attend museum shows and exhibit galleries. 

Best Friends 4 Ever | The four brothers, each about four years apart, are best friends. They have a group chat that they regularly update. “Our mom kind of spaced us out so that she can enjoy us all. Enjoy us, have another. Enjoy us, have another,” chuckled Sandy. 

Artist Advice | “Don’t look at it as, where you’re at is taking away from your art because whatever you’re in, you can learn to apply it to art,” advised Sandy to aspiring artists.

Shelby and Sandy