Black Collagist Wednesday: Della Wells

Curated by Teri Henderson

Discover the work of Della Wells! 

“Della Wells is a Milwaukee native who has described herself categorically as a self-taught folk artist, but admits that these labels do not suit her properly. Rather it is her name that best describes her. She has always been an artist and sold her first work at the age of thirteen, but didn’t start working in earnest until age forty-two. “Throughout my life people were trying to get me to do art,” she says, “but I didn’t have an interest. I didn’t have anything to say.” Della’s work is about storytelling she states, “I make up my own folktales in my work… I like to make up my own realities. I find a lot of people make up their own realties.”

Well’s art celebrates the wild beauty, radiant colors and rich textures found in nature. She also uses her studies in psychology, sociology, African American and women’s studies to shape ideas for her work. Della Wells is an extraordinary mixed media artist. Her work evokes everyday scenes and cultural values. She specializes in pastels, using found objects in her pieces. Her work includes dolls, boxes, cards, painted vests and more.

“Art is many things,” says Della, “I think we tend to think that it’s just paintings and sculptures but art is everything. Art is this floor… Art is man’s desire to create. Art is also, to find you… Art is how we live our lives.” 


(Images courtesy of portrait society gallery website)

Thank you, Della!!!

For more on the Doug + Laurie Kanyer Art Collection, focusing exclusively on collage, see 

@kanyerartcollection or]

The Black Collagists Arts Incubator will serve as a conduit for the amplification of collages created solely by Black collage artists. It’s mission and goal is to become the premier resource on Black artists making collage globally.