I often paint and draw, it’s my “outlet” and I get my creative fuel from speaking with other artists. It’s like going for counselling as art is so personal. Each work of art I produce is almost like giving birth (I said almost). I nurture and spend time with my art taking a few years to complete. Sometimes I find it hard to let go of these pieces and would admit to going as far as wondering if one of my pieces is going to a “good home”. Thank goodness I’ve got these other artists to keep me in check and motivated.
I was first introduced via email to Vancouver artist, Jon Shaw. The email I had received was “you should check him out, I think you’d be interested in his style.” And she was right.
His work speaks on an urban level. He finds beauty in everyday objects that may not necessarily be considered beautiful or inspiring like a trash receptacle or a dark alley. His abstracts are mesmerizing. His animals are done with incredible detail but even they have a very urban feel about them. I love checking in on the progression of his artwork as he shares on his blog and Facebook. So inspiring!!!
I had a chance to ask this award-winning artist a few questions…you know, cause I’m always curious about the person.
As a child, were there any indications that you would grow into the world of art?
I think so – I was always the kid in class who could draw well. Some kids were good at sports, or good at math, I could draw realistic pictures.
How did your mom (or parents) encourage you? Any memories?
Ya I remember having these cool “Draw Squad” videos that they bought for me. I used those a lot. They also got me into a number of after-school art classes. They were keen to help nurture my skills/passions.
What or who has inspired you and your artwork today?
Right now the work is inspired by urban adventures. The work draws on the city, urban decay, and the passage of time.
As an artist, what are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to over come? And/or what were your moments of revelation – or most fulfilling moments?
I didn’t paint for three years after graduating art school, and when I started up again, I thought I had lost my skills. It took a while to get my flow back. That happened when I started combining different techniques. So that was all of the above – fulfilling, a big revelation, and also the biggest obstacle.
Back to you mom, she’s a great supporter of yours…anything you want to tell her?
We talk a lot during the day. I work a 9-5 desk job so there’s lots of email exchange. Mama knows I love and miss her ☺
I understand that you also get involved with charities and your art? Tell us about it.
I’ve done a couple of gala fundraiser events in Vancouver. My studios have always been in the DTES and I’m very comfortable in that area. I really enjoy the sense of community there, it’s actually way more of a friendly community there then anywhere else in Vancouver. Friends of mine work for funded housing and other friends of mine use that housing. It’s a really important system that needs support and understanding. For the shows I participated in, I created and donated works specific to the event. There’s been a lot of money raised at those events and its good to see more affluential participants bidding high on art for the cause.
You’ve mentioned on your website that you’re an admirer of all things beautiful…can you share an example?
That goes beyond just art. It’s being able to smile from the things that I encounter walking to work, or while on the bus. Beauty is admiration for the world we live in, and beauty brings happiness.
“I’m from Ontario, and I went to school in the Maritimes. Now I draw and paint in Vancouver,” says Shaw. “I combine drawing and painting and experiment with different ways of applying those mediums. I like to draw in coffee shops, paint in my studio, snowboard on sunny days and run along the water. I have old man hobbies like model trains, long coffee adventures and games of chess, even though I’m 28. I love puppies and I think good friends are the most important thing in the world.”
You can check out Jon Shaw’s artwork at his website jonshawpaintings.com
Thanks Jon for keeping me inspired…and please say hi to your mom for me!