An interview with artist ShawNshawN over his style Metal Mayhem. This is for the show Visceral City that is a two man show with Michael Sacramento from June 23 to August 3. The opening is on June 23 from 6pm - 8pm. The gallery address is 2000 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. Our regular gallery hours are 11am - 6pm Friday to Sunday.
Shawn Shawn of Fourth Street Fine Art talks about his painting 303 Signatures which was created in the Political Pop style of painting. It covers his reaction to Charter 08 and the current politics of China under communist rule.
Readers, if you are interested in viewing the painting in person, please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
I am now the President of our national organization, American Society of Botanical Artists. It is safe to say that as much time goes into administering these organizations as goes into my painting...for now.
I owe my appreciation for botanical art to the artist, Henry Evans, who gained popularity in the 1970's. My path to painting botanicals was not direct, however. I studied studio art at a small liberal arts school in Illinois and decided that the midwest was not for me. Back in California at UC Davis, I got a degree in Landscape Architecture which served as a great foundation for my knowledge of plants that I paint to day.
Tell us more about what you create. What style(s) do you work in, mediums, etc.
When it comes to plants, I get up close and personal. Much goes into preserving plants as found in nature. Color studies are done, details are noted, sketches of plant parts are drawn, and ultimately a composition evolves from all of this before beginning to paint layers upon layers of watercolor. My process goes from wet and loose to dry and detailed.
Where can we find your art besides at 4th Street?
I am in exhibitions throughout the year. I am currently showing my art at Filoli in Woodside.
How long have you been creating?
Botanical art since 1999 and design work since 1978.
When you're not making your art, what do you do?
My time is split between my administrative work for ASBA, teaching watercolor, walking my dog, spending time with my family, and cooking. I cook to relax!
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
I'm about to have my first joint exhibition at 4th Street Fine Art. It has been fun to collaborate in an environment where I'm the only botanical artist.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
People expect that my art is my passion. It's not, but it certainly has acted as a wonderful vehicle for learning more about myself, other people, and the world around me.
It's good to put your art in the context of your life. I think it takes some of the weight of needing to produce off.
Just starting out, I say get out there and see what others are doing. Find what appeals to you and find your own voice.
Who are some artists that inspire you?
Henry Evans was the first. Now that I am deeply embedded in the botanical art world there are a hosts of lesser known artists there such as Elaine Searle, Lizzie Sanders and Jean Emmons. More well-known artists would include Georgia O'Keefe, and the French impressionists.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I imagine I'll always paint because there is so much out there to see and do.
Come see the beautiful details of Sally's work up-close and in-person.
Her show with artist, Valerie Sobel, will be on display March 31 - May 11, 2018. Come chat with her about her work at the opening reception Saturday, April 7th 5pm - 7pm.
More info here.
4th Street Fine Art artist Shawn Shawn’s Metal Mayhem is based on metal blades that cut and smooth a surface or deconstruct a duality. Shawn’s inspiration was Erik Nieman and Gerhardt Richter reformed into his own style.
Why do you paint and draw? What is your interest in art?
I make art cause it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I’m interested in the self preservation aspect to it. We make things to define our existence or just to make things. In the end it becomes a sort of time capsule that shows what I’ve been doing while I was alive. Also, it’s fun. If I didn't have to worry about bills, fueling the economy, living the standard lifestyle…if being homeless wasn’t socially unacceptable, I’d paint all day without a care in the world. But paints cost money, I like taking long hot showers, and the internet.
When did you first get started and how has your art evolved since then?
I started taking art more seriously in my early twenties. I was attending community college and taking art classes there because that was the only thing I was most interested in and excelled at. I didn't get a chance to take a painting class, but I really got into figure drawing and printmaking. I would go down and visit the watercolor class during my breaks in between classes. If I’m lucky I would get to see the teacher Charlie Chavez take his class out and paint plein air. That’s when I really wanted to learn watercolor and paint outdoors.
I transferred to CSU East Bay and received a BFA in Traditional Art. While getting my undergrad I was more exposed to other artists (both peers and professional) that helped me discover more about myself and art making. In the beginning I was still in training mode and getting my feet wet. Now I’m trying to perfect the variations of the breaststroke.
How does your background/history impact the themes you paint on?
It impacts it greatly especially in my current series on Acculturation. That series is based on human behavior, identity, and culture. I grew up knowing little of mine and feeling sort of out of place. When I started this series I noticed that I learned more about myself and others than ever before.
Why do you enjoy plein aire? What's the difference vs. painting from photos or an iPad?
Painting plein air is a very interesting experience. You have to go in knowing that you’re not going to make the best painting. Instead, it’s going to be the best sketch you’ll ever do. I like the freshness, spontaneity, it’s ephemeral, and the care free attitude that comes with it. Just go outside paint what you see, hope for the best, expect the worst, and bring home something that proves you were there at that date and time.
Okay, every artist knows that there’s a big difference between painting from life and working from photos. Colors and temperatures are different. The way you see something also isn't the same. I don’t mind working from photos. It depends on the process and the approach that determines the results. However, working from life will definitely help you execute how you work from photos. You’ll trust your gut and eye more. Be a little loose when you need to be and working from photos will help you be a little more tight and allows more freedom. There are benefits to both.
Who has been your biggest influences in art style?
I never really liked the word “style” when it comes to art.Feels…too trendy. I don’t feel like I have one. It’s just a bunch of everyone I like molded in together. There’s a whole lot of artists that I’m inspired by. I like the works of George Post, Joseph Zbukvic, Miguel Linares Rios, Sargent, Zorn, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Bill Watterson, Sean Cheetham, too many. Right now, I’m still in the technical and foundation aspect, so I’m attracted by artists with exceptional drawing skills.
George Post, Guyanans Harbor
Miguel Linares Rios
What is your favorite painting you painted and why?
Don’t have one. I don’t think i’ll ever have a favorite of my artworks. However I feel most connected to my little series of mix media drawings, Tahimik. They’re also a part of the Acculturation series. It’s the most personal and therapeutic works I’ve made so far.
Sunrise and Sunset: Two very different interpretations of landscape
Erin McGarry and Hallie Strock, artists at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley, present an exhibition of their landscape paintings from July 7th through August 17th. There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday July 11 from 5 pm to 7pm.
Erin, growing up on the outskirts of San Antonio, learned to love nature through playing outdoors and camping, as well as traveling. In her oil paintings, she captures the ephemeral qualities of light and time, and how they affect a viewer’s experience.
Hallie creates her landscapes with a combination of printmaking techniques, acrylic and watercolor. She works from her own photographs, and is particularly fascinated with trees, using strong color and composition.
Hallie says,”It is always amazing and intriguing to me how two different artists can interpret the same thing in such different ways. My view of what China Camp, or Angel Island, or many other familiar places is not like Erin’s at all.”
4th Street Fine Art is a collaboration of 16 local artists, located in Berkeley at 2000 4th Street, corner of 4th and University. The gallery is open from Friday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm, and by appointment.
Exhibition: July 7th - Aug 17th
Reception: July 11th, 5 - 7pm
Address: 2000 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Sobel, Badhia and Sacramento in “Trio”
Berkeley, CA – 4th Street Fine Art is pleased to present “Trio”, an
exhibition featuring the works of three of its artists: Prabin Badhia,
Michael Sacramento, and Valerie Sobel. The show will run from May
19, 2015 to July 6, 2015. Its opening reception will take place on
Saturday, June 6th from 6 PM to 8 PM.
“Trio” represents the eclectic character of 4th Street Fine Art and its
artists, with works ranging from traditional figurative to pop inspired,
to organic textile art.
Badhia is involved in creating art that has subjects which are
entangled with his current thoughts, energy, and time. He approaches
his piece with no regard for any pre-condition. Sometimes, he has a lot
to tell in a limited time. At other times, he has little to say, with plenty
of time. He enjoys the structure, the muscles, and movement,
bending, twisting, and turning of the body forms. His subject has
always been primarily the human form. His figures are not historically
based nor do they have a social context. They are purely form; they
are without telling of where they are from and why there are there,
and when they are. The ideology behind this is neither constructive nor
The themes of Sacramento's work are based on the idea of memory
and emotional connections. Each subject is tied to a particular
experience - whether real or imagined. Michael's aesthetic style is
influenced by traditional, pop, illustration and contemporary design.
The resulting body of work forms the unique representation of his
Sobel’s work germinates from her observation of nature and from the
belief that all things are interconnected. She aims to foster the
awareness that people are rooted in their natural environment, of how
deep and essential their mutual dependence is. In that context, the
process of felting itself, used by the artist in her mixed media pieces,
becomes a physical metaphor of that universal entanglement.
This particular body of works explores the enthralling world of pods
and seeds, inviting the viewer to travel into a fictional realm, and
maybe, reassess what we think makes us specifically human.
Contact: Michael Sacramento
Address: 2000 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Opening: June 6 6-8pm
Exhibition Date: May 19 - July 6
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