Born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Shawn has been painting and creating art for over 30 years. He began his love of the arts singing, writing poetry, and trying to “out-draw” his nephew when they were children. Starting out using markers and colored pencil, he was introduced to painting with acrylics by his 8th grade art teacher. It was also around this time that he was exposed to graffiti writing by a childhood friend, which had a profound impact on his style by fostering a love of color and the preference of markers over brushes. Attending North Carolina Central University from 1987 to graduation in 1993, he majored in Public Administration but continued to cultivate his skills as an artist as a part time art student, finding a “second home” in the Fine Arts Department.
His artwork has been displayed in numerous establishments spanning the east coast with the majority being viewed in The Raleigh-Durham Area, including the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and The Carter Building in Raleigh. He has work currently on display at Benedict College in Columbia, SC as part of their permanent collection. He also has work on loan to The Obama Art Museum, located in downtown Raleigh.
While having worked in various mediums including pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, marker, oil pastel, acrylics, clay (hand building and throwing), wood sculpture and plaster sculpture/casting, Shawn’s current mediums of choice are oil pastel and opaque paint markers. What Shawn considers his first real collection, named “the Rebirth of Stick”, was a reinvention of the stick figure using fluid forms and broken lines. He next began to focus on the use of silhouettes, which later transitioned into creating colorfully clad, faceless figures where he would incorporate facial expressions into the clothing of the subject to accent the mood of the piece. During this period Shawn was mostly impressed by and focused on the female form. Recently his work has consisted primarily of portraits of various famous African American musicians, entertainers, educators and political figures.
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