Friday, February 26, 2010

Show at Concrete Ocean, March 19th

The News is Good- showing in the city on March 19th at Concrete Ocean Art Gallery! Bryan Pease asked me to participate in a group show there last July, and it was a success, so I have high hopes for the March 19th show. The talented Jeff Sass will be sharing the bill with me, AND there will be a guest appearance by my acoustic group, The Good Medicine Revival Show- should really be fun! Mr. Pease throws the best shows at Concrete Ocean; I am honored to work with such a great gallery. I will be showing a retrospective of mixed media works from the last six years of painting in Saint Louis, some of which have never been shown in public, all of which will be for sale at great prices- time to clean house!

Pictured in my flyer:
“Slippery Day On the Parkway”, 2006
collage and acrylic on masonite, 8 x 10”

Monday, February 1, 2010


acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14"

When I was young I wanted to be a comic book artist- as a high school student, I even submitted work to the major titles. The letters I received in return gave the standard advice, “Your work looks good, Mr. Shaw! We strongly suggest you attend college for art, and take as many drawing and illustration classes as possible.” Greatly encouraged by this I did just that, if in fits and starts. Though after a semester of undergraduate art courses, I soon forgot about my unrealized childhood ambition, having my eyes opened to the wide and varied world of Art History. The mythic chronicles detailing the lives of Picasso and other modern art giants in my textbooks captured my expanding imagination and intellect now- caped crusaders were left in the awkward clutter of adolescent artistic growth.

When offered a commission to paint Batman recently, my patron flirted with apology in her request, “I realize you do your own thing with art, but I keep seeing the Colin version of this in my head, and I like what I see… know it’s cheesy, and if you don’t want to, it’s cool.” She wasn’t too far off the mark due to the fact that I never really abandoned the punchy colors, graphic styling, and narrative/storyline approach to my artwork- it’s themes matured, but the urgency and drama was never diminished. Mired in the Winter of Our Discontent, I accepted the job and banged out a small painting of The Dark Knight Detective on an odd day off- something fun to chase off the doldrums. It seems mildly ridiculous, and I won’t be winning any major awards for it, but it was *laughs* too weird for me to pass up.

I painted my old subject in acrylic on a piece of canvas (as I would any “real painting”) after some internet research on Batman’s costume variations, and had a great time re-imagining his outfit. Wanting to pay homage to the character’s “Golden Age” as well as modern reinterpretations, I used some elements of the more recent body armor outfit construction mixed with the shorter ears and gloves/longer shorts prevalent in the winged vigilante’s earlier incarnations. Here in my little portrait our hero carefully takes aim with a “Bat-a-rang”, bleeding from the leg/hip in fiery chaos, his trained inner calm ignores mortal instinct. I always enjoyed the grim nature of Batman, the romance of his character’s solitude, and the very human/vulnerable quality- he could be injured or killed, making him somewhat believable. Somewhere beneath his cowl, under his furrowed brow and angry heart is a hurt and abandoned little boy who wanted justice in the world, even if he had to dress up like a monster and violently wrench it out of the world with his own hands. His incredible popularity over the span of many decades speaks voluminously of both the heart of mankind and the mystery of popular culture- people have great capacity to be selfless and brave in the face of danger, simultaneously our society is also obsessed with violence and sometimes let our inner demons get the best of us, arguably more now than ever.

Batman on the worktable *laughs* breaks for a bass solo! Thanks DJ for the photoshop job, very funny!

Framed drawing of mine from school days that a friend shared with me when I told her about the Batman painting- forgot about this one!