Thursday, 18/1/2018 | 2:55 EST
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High Art Fridays (HAF) began in November of 2013 on my personal facebook page. Each Thursday night I’d peruse a vast amount of art on Pinterest and select several artists to be included in the HAF Gallery Show. I began numbering each special Friday from the inception. I kept this tradition in place for over one year, but I grew exhausted from working until 3 to 4 am Thursday nights to make deadline.  We have moved away from numbering special shows, now it is our goal to publish two or three stories each month.  I will periodically publish our early shows which originally appeared on our facebook group page.  I have discovered many artists around the world. For the past three years, the HAF facebook group has been assembling an array of talent. We have become sort of a global family without borders, engaging, learning, and discovering art that most of us would never have encountered without this group — a unique benefit.

Launching on April fools day 2016, is the 3rd phase of the group’s development. I am delighted to engage this platform, for I believe HAF has a unique appreciation for a specific and often ignored art genre. One of the challenges is the language issue, though it appears English is most commonly used as the vehicle of communication. Technology is helpful in that regard, but even Google is limited in its ability to translate feelings, ideas, and idioms. With that said, there may be a periodic hiccup with the flow and proper interpretation of information and continuity; it is my goal to be linear when sharing.

This group is far from traditional – it leans toward the abstract – drawing from a more subconscious frame of reference rather than deliberate pools of thought. The ideas we exchange will fly in the face of tradition — the potential for results that could be viewed as radical and disturbing. So we will move forward and see where this road leads us; most likely “A road less traveled.” I think art has great power to heal, inspire and change the manner in which we think; it opens us.

HAF has incorporated categories from its facebook model: “art now…as social, political and historical commentaries” addressing, via art, the unique position our earth has found itself as it relates to social, political, historical, and environmental platforms. It is our goal to stimulate open dialogue on these issues, and are areas that HAF will continue to develop.

Mental Illness and its association with artists has been a focus of both my artistic journey and others. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, a leading psychiatrist in mood disorders, wrote  Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament,  examines the relationship between Bipolar Disorder and artistic creativity. Living with Bipolar Disorder for me is a daunting journey, to which I find art, a value in my therapeutic model.

We now have more than 1700 members from the USA, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Serbia, Austria, Africa, Iran, Turkey, and other nations across the globe. This unique level of diversity is what makes the group so important; it represents a shared aesthetic not bound by sex, race, religion, or language. My travels to Italy in the fall of 2015, and meeting Carl Heyward, USA, founder of the Global Arts Project (GAP) and other GAP members (Akiko Suzuki, Japan; Vered Gersztenkorn, Israel: Ron Weijers, Netherlands; Mario Catalano, Italy; Monica Lisi, Italy; Glen Rogers, Mexico and John Crabtree, England) were delightfully eye-opening experiences.

To date, this project is a two person team, my brother Michael Shelton: Senior Visual Design & Website Director and contributing writer, and myself. I am very appreciative of Carol Heft and Chris Taylor as contributing editors/editorial writers. Special thanks to my niece, Mycah Shelton, for her remarkable contributions during her summer intern with HAF, the development of the HAF logo, business cards, and brochure. To all HAF members/Artists who have allowed me to publish their works, thank you! This is our project!! To join HAF as a member visit: High Art Fridays on facebook