James A. Shell Jr.


GREENSBORO – James A. Shell Jr. died Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his residence. James was born July 20, 1944, in Roxboro, and lived in Greensboro. He acquired his formal education from East Carolina College and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, Penland School of Arts and Crafts and Averett College. He was a noted N.C. artist.

Jim’s art work was intaglio etching. This method involves making a plate through a process of etching and cutting until it is complete and ready for the press. The metal plate is then run through the press to create the image onto wet paper. The plate is cleaned and re-inked for the next image. After the print is stretched and dried, it is ready to be water-colored, numbered and signed, and matted for distribution. His original etchings are all conceived, executed, and produced in his studio, one at a time. Each edition is limited in number, and his signature guarantees the work’s authenticity.

You will not see Jim Shell’s work on calendars, cards, rugs, pillows, or in any off-set reproductions. He was an art purist. He believed that anyone who bought his work should know that he printed the piece of work, water-colored it, matted it, and signed it. No one ever touched the work except himself and his wife Barbara who laid the work in its mat and helped with framing.

Over the years, Jim’s work has remained affordable because he was committed to enabling people to have original artwork in their homes at a reasonable price. Needless to say, he did not become wealthy from his work, but he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had not prostituted his art.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Tatum Shell and his father, James A. Shell Sr. He leaves to grieve for him, his wife, Barbara R. Shell, son; Allen Shell and wife Jodi of Providence; and grandsons, Alec Shell and Ashton Smith.

Per Jim’s request there will be no service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Forbis and Dick Guilford Chapel is serving the Shell Family. Online condolences may be offered at www.forbisanddick.com.


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