Arkansas native taps Southern roots for art

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Monday, January 23, 2017

Arkansas native Shea Hembrey taps into his Southern roots when creating his artwork, which has been internationally acclaimed and featured in a TED talk, the New York Times, The Story on NPR and the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York.

Hembrey was born in Newport and grew up in rural Arkansas, graduating from Lyon College with a bachelor’s degree and Arkansas State University with a master’s degree – as well as later achieving another master’s degree from Cornwell University in New York. He was a 2002 recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Individual Artist Fellowship.

He told The Creators Project writer Katherine Tarpinian that his experiences growing up “taught him to be good with his hands, to be pragmatic, and use what was around him.”

Seek – The Inaugural Biennial is Hembrey’s most notable project. In it, he embodied 100 artists of his own invention and created pieces of art from each artist’s perspective. He used a similar concept in MultiVerses, this time exploring the work of five fictional artists.

radius by Shea Hembrey

One of his most recent projects included an exhibit entitled The Secret Ingredient, which debuted in October at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual symposium. The exhibit explored ingredients, techniques and materials that come together to make a larger whole.

See more of Hembrey’s work at


(Image: radius by Shea Hembrey, from