"Melon Scope" is an original pastel drawing on paper by Della Wells. The artist signed the piece in the lower right. This work depicts a black woman carrying a large slice of watermelon, which stands for a stereotype of African Americans. Two serpent-like large leaves flank her, each with a single eye, which signify, according to the artist the all-seeing eye of God. A chicken walks behind the foliage. Chickens are images from Wells' childhood and represent things that must die in order for others to live.
19 1/2" x 27 1/4" art
30 1/2" x 38 1/4" frame
Born in 1951, Della Wells grew up in Milwaukee. As a child and young person, she did not want to become an artist but a storyteller; to this day she considers herself to be a "visual storyteller." Wells is a self taught artist who was attending college to become a psychologist when she was assigned to write about a professional person. She chose an artist, who remembered that Wells had the ability to draw. The artist kept encouraging Wells, who starting drawing and painting seriously at age 42. She has said, "I didn't do anything for a long time, because I didn't think I had anything to say. You can draw, you may now how to do things technically, but I think to be a true artist you have to have something to say. You have to have a vision." Her creative process stems from her personal experiences and her works are often inspired by her troubled childhood. She also uses her studies in psychology, sociology, African American and women's studies to shape ideas for her work. Known for her collages, drawings, dolls, paintings, and pastels, Well created a magical land called "Mambo" populated and ruled primarily by black women. Wells has been successful in "outsider art" venues, including the Outsider Art exhibition in New York. Wells' art is exhibited in more than 100 private and public collections. Her work was purchased by the Smithsonian. Her collages are sold at the National Museum of African American History and culture.