Shanell Papp grew up in Southern Alberta and received her B.F.A. from the University of Lethbridge, in 2006 and completed her graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan. On completion of her graduate work, Papp received a dean’s medal nomination, for her work Loners: working away from a pattern (her thesis can be accessed online from the University of Saskatchewan Library). Much of her work is textile, video, drawing, printmaking and photography. She has never painted and in any of her attempts to paint, have ended up with unintended paint mixing results, greens that end up as browns and browns end up as purples, but one day she would love to paint an iceberg in the fog.
Much of her work is interested in structures and definitions. She is interested in how people make sense of the world, in how one creates order and structure for themselves. Papp was lucky to not have much doctrine pushed on her and she is almost naive at times. She tends to view most things with a sense of wonder and awe, when these same things are accepted as cornerstones of knowledge to most. She is a very discerning, sceptical and exclusive in her thinking. Papp is interested in labour intensive and skilled art practices. Much of her work displays her skill and patience with many materials. In an era, of speed Papp is an odd duck. She embroidered life size skeletons into tough canvas by hand (bonebook), she has woven 50-60 cases of straight pins into a canvas to create a mountain (anxiety), but Shanell is best known for a crochet human skeleton and organs (Lab), which was part of the Current show at the SAAG in 2006. Her work is often labour intensive and skills based; but much of her work is dense with conceptual and material associations. When asked about her work, Papp is quick to reference her variety of interests in science, vulnerability, outsiders, biographical comics, folk art, junk stores, outsider music, horror movies, true crime, medical history, death studies, harsh environments, survival situations and museums/collections of any kind.
Papp has shown her work in galleries across Canada and beyond, including University of Lethbridge (Lethbridge), University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), The New Gallery (Calgary), Gallery Gachette (Vancouver) and the City of Craft (Toronto). Papp is also an active participant in the Arts community she was a board member for Trap\door (Lethbridge) and AKA (Saskatoon). She was employed in various capacities at PAVED arts (Saskatoon), The Galt Museum and Archives (Lethbridge) and The Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge). Papp sells her work under the name Yarnmoth on etsy, at the SAAG gift shop and she Is a Co-Organizer, for Craftateria.