Interview of LA Art Crasher Artist – ShawNshawN



The artistic journey of artist ShawNShawN is one that has been molded by travel, culture and class systems. “My journey started with traveling at a young age. We moved from city to city, state to state and finally country to country. Traveling all over Europe and the US leaves a mark of a self-made gypsy, always moving and reacting to the local scenes I find myself in, recreating my self to various classes, cultures and states. In high school I lived in some dangerous neighborhoods that led to a cynicism of police and justice as I witnessed rich neighborhoods constantly cared for while in poorer neighborhoods the citizens were the enemy similar to what is happening right now in Fergusen, Missouri.”



ShawN’s adventures read like a history book. From the 92′ riots in LA to the fall of the Berlin Wall, he has witnessed history unfold before his very eyes. “While living in Poland I was exposed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, leaving its mark on the evil of dictatorship over the citizenry, police states and the fallacy of big government gone astray on a large scale: food shortages, currency boom and busts, scams, constant burglaries and state corruption. Later, I lived in Spain, which had survived 50 years of Fascism thanks to the Allies deciding not to overthrow Franco after beating Mussolini and Hitler. Spaniards were in the moment celebrating the first decade of freedom after lifetime of dictatorship. I witnessed students block 5 lanes of traffic to petition the government to change school policy and other riots. I actively participated in the National Strike, where everyone literally closed shop and demonstrated before police in full riot gear.”



ShawnShawn watched as Europe rose like phoenix from the ashes, both socially and financially. “Later I lived in Germany in the late 1990s. Here I was witnessing the prolonged techno parties and raves, which got their start after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Belgium, I studied my MBA in Marketing right as the Euro was being born. Here I learned to study many hours more than in my BA. It truly was grueling work with small pleasures.”

In 2000, ShawN returned to the US and settled in California. “I decided to move to California to ride the Dot Com rush in 2000. Here I saw the collapse of dotcoms over night and the panic of workers as their wealth evaporated overnight. This truly was a place of dreams and broken dreams.”



When ShawNShawN began painting again, he turned to eBay to generate interest and sales. “First I sold on eBay to get started, selling over 35 works online. It was a great experience to get started in the art world once again before moving on to gallery sales.” His work knows no boundaries. He is an experimental artist who has enjoyed working with various styles to grow as an artist. “I first started forming my abstract styles: Free Form and Architectural Abstraction. In free form abstraction, I experimented with metal tools to capture the essence of the paint and pain in the same moment. In Architectural Abstraction, I moved from pure angular work to a very settled systematic angular painting style. From one art show by Augustine Kofie, I was greatly influenced to change from free form angular to my new style Architectural Abstraction based on 30, 90 and 60 degree angles. Along the way, with my background in history and living history, I started my third style: Political Pop. This style takes on large political ideas: freedom, political repression and popular icons from Hollywood and the world in paint. One of my major influences here was Shephard Fairey as well as Mr. Brainwash after seeing “Exit through the Gift Shop”. I look forward to exploring this style as new ideas come to me regularly.”



We were thrilled to not only have ShawNShawN’s work featured in our LA show, but also to have him at the show. He is an artist who puts no barriers between him and his audience. He signed and handed out some of his prints during the show and attendees loved it!


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Interview on Online Art

OA: What is your favourite film of all time?


SS: One of my favorite films of all time is The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. The original novel was written by Stephen King. What stands out in my mind is the play of isolation, increasing madness and supernatural possession. The little boy, Danny, in the movie has an imaginary friend who acts out the fear of this massive hotel that is possessed and has many mysterious murders over its long history.

theshining2 theshining3

The hotel was built on Indian burial grounds and has the motives throughout the hotel in the carpeting and decor. The scale of the hotel and living there alone is well captured by the scenes of Danny riding his Big Wheel through the corridors of the hotel and the scene of Jack, the husband, throwing a ball against the walls of a massive room as he stirs in boredom and writer’s block.


Besides the slow build-up in terror, mystery and later horror, Kubrick was able to take a popular novel based on a possessed hotel to a blend of natural break-down of human nature in isolation with the illusion of a possessed hotel, which drives a fine line begging the question: was Jack delusional or possessed by the Shining? Of course, I have painted a work dedicated to The Shining, “Overlook Hotel, Maui”.


OA: What music are you currently listening to and why?

SS: Right now I generally listen to electronic music streamed on My brother introduced me to the station and I actively use it to paint my work with. I originally got into House dance music in Chicago and later Trance as a bartender in Germany. Another genre of music to paint by is very aggressive rock or death metal even to stir the rawest emotions into the passion of the painting.

tool nin2

Just the other day I was painting to Tool, which I hadn’t really heard before while painting. In my youth and even now, one of my favorite bands is Nine Inch Nails. I grew up with my mother always crying over lost jobs with her flawed personality driving her failure, so this type of depressing, suicidal music really pierces my soul and allows me to purge those memories. The weird thing is after listening to NIN, I feel happy inside from releasing the inner demons to rage awhile. I think I’ll play some today while I paint.

OA: Which living artists do you most admire and why?


SS: I would say Shephard Fairey. He took his art to the streets to get the visual feedback of what worked and didn’t in his work. At the same time, he strove to address the littered landscape of advertising: bill boards, subway ads and bus stop ads to subvert them to his OBEY campaign, which exposes the hypocrisy of police chasing down graffiti artists while protecting advertisers to shout their message to the masses endless with corporate money. Another interesting angle was how he repackaged various politicians into new ways to expose or even make fun of the propaganda, which is basically repeated, unchallenged art with message. I do have mixed emotions of using dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Stalin or Lenin in posters with a neutral message. I lived in Communist Poland a year and saw how an autocratic regime tarnishes the masses, belittles opponents and smashes political opposition with jail, prison or even death. I don’t believe these types of leaders should be positioned neutrally. In my work, I actively pursue revolution against these types of regimes like in China and Russia currently.


OA: Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?

SS: This is a tough choice. So much great art and artists. One that sticks in my mind was Picasso. He evolved over several painting styles: blue period, pink period, cubism and later social realism. This is the essence of an artist, to continually explore and push the limits of art. He even painted a massive painting dedicated to the fascist bombing of Guernica during Spain’s Civil War, which precluded the coming atrocities in WWII. He kept this painting out of Spain until Franco, the dictator, died, which was a very, very long time. In essence, he outlived Franco barely to keep this treasure out of Spain until democracy returned. Of course the reality is Franco would likely have destroyed the work, since he used Nazi airpower to win the Civil War. Like any artist, he was flawed in his relationships and I believe he went astray painting the socialist realism after cubism. This paralleled the art world in closed Communist countries, which I find disturbing with the tinge of the gulag attached to this propaganda style. Another reason to respect Picasso and why he was so famous, he lived in the great art capitals of his day: Paris and later New York City. One of the reasons artists become famous is simply by being where the action is. He showed complete devotion to his talent with all else secondary, he lived for the art world. People reward this.


OA: Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

SS: Easy. The Guernica. Picasso painted this right after the bombing of civilians in Guernica, the first civilian air raid, capturing the cruelty of modern air warfare in a massive scene all in black and white. It was kept out of Spain until the fall of Franco, which gets to the heart of being Spanish — respect and honor to the end. The painting was right in his maximum successful period of cubism, so is beautiful in this light as well and capturing the horror of war. I have seen it several times while studying art as a student living in Spain. This is the essence of painting, to capture the audience, expose injustice, have an amazing story and even outside story of keeping it out of the country until Franco’s death.


You can literally feel the arch of the Civil War in this painting and the paintings life outside of Spain as an emigre as well. Art should change the world and in many cases does not, this work did.

OA: What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?

SS: Usually it is about the process as I work in three different styles: Free Form Abstract, Architectural Abstraction and Political Pop. One version of my abstract I use pure metal tools on wood panels similar to how Gehard Richter paints his massive abstracts.


I have a passion of finding where the paint will take me and combine. The second style is Architectural Abstraction. This style developed from my more angular style I first used into a highly structured 30 degree, 60 degree and 90 degree style with various planes of color fighting for dominion in the work.


My third style is Political Pop, currently my favorite to explain, since each work has a distinct message and story. These works deal with political injustice, crimes against humanity and an artist’s struggle to change the world through art.


One of my largest works “303 Signatures” deals with the rise of Charter 08 in China and the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo for merely crafting this declaration of rights. It has all the 17 points of the petition to the government covering political freedom, freedom of expression, religion, etc. all in 76 hanzi, which alludes to 1776, the year of US declaration of independence. Along the frame I have most of the 303 signatures, about 900 hanzi characters. Keep in mind I speak no Mandarin, so this was really challenging work. Now over 13,000 people have signed it and the writer won the Nobel Peace Prize and was rewarded with 11 years in prison. I plan to keep this work out of China until the fall of Communism there.

OA: What / who inspired you to be an artist?

SS: There are many people. My mother took me to several art classes in my youth and was an excellent musician in her own right. In college, I was inspired to be taught under the late Tom Thomas. He would paint his own contemporary art right in class, so we could immediately leap frog to the latest style, which I later did. He organized great art competitions for the students with outside competition, so we learned the world of art very intimately. Additionally, his model would paint in class as well, so we saw her erotic paintings, which was one of the best learning experiences.


Another inspiration would be Van Gough, since he persevered despite his mental lunacy that drove away his own customers, artist friends and gallerists. This is amazing to have lived so passionately in your art despite really gaining nothing materially. It is also very foolish not to learn how to communicate, but all artists have some flaws, some larger than others.

FSFA_Logo 72

OA: Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any the significance of this location is?

SS: Currently, I paint at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley. It is an artist studio/gallery, which is kind of unique as most places are either studios or galleries. The advantage here is the ability to learn other artist styles as well as how to market better as a group. Working in a group is crucial for any artist to be able to stay on top of his field, constantly learning and debating the finer points of art making, selling and marketing. The physical space is pretty amazing with windows on 3 sides, so the natural light really pours in, which is very important to understand the richness of the colors and subtlety between shades. Close by is an Indian burial ground under a parking lot. The original building was occupied by Brennans, a tavern that was started back in 1958. They got moved down the block. So we likely have some ghosts like in the Shining.

OA: What do you like most about being an artist?

SS: One of the great pleasures of being an artist is exploring the world of art, painting and meeting people. In my current location, we regularly get to meet people browsing and explain how a work is developing. It is very exciting to get behind the scenes with clients on the process. Another great characteristic, is you are leaving a legacy. If you get to a certain level of fame in your lifetime, your work will literally live for centuries as your work is talked about and discussed. I believe this is very important to impact your world for as long as possible. What better way to live than enrich your descendants long after you have lived your own life?

OA: What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

SS: I believe being part of the Peace Project is my highest achievement for an artist show. This project was based on the wish raise awareness of the ravages of war on civilians and try to make a difference via art charity. One project helped distribute 10,000 crutches to victims of Sierra Leone’s war. As an art event, my work travelled to 8 major US cities: Oakland, Culver City, Chelsea, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Ana and Long Beach. Another great project I worked on was Adult Day Services twice for art donations. They serve the Oakland community of elders in their final years. Another great achievement was my invitation to go to the Art Dubai festival, which unfortunately I turned down due to the expense of flying. My first far show was in Miami, which was the most exciting to see my work up in a gallery so far away in Nina Torres Fine Art.

OA: What are your plans for the coming year?

SS: I likely will continue working with the Peace Project, Adult Day Services and other art charities to expand my reach to the community. So far as an artist, I have done a show in LA, which was my first physical onsite tour of my work. That was fairly exciting meeting new clientele in a completely different art market. It definitely opened my eyes up to the possibility. My goal this year is to be in several galleries outside of the San Francisco area. I also want to have some major art sales as well and gain income from it.

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Interview on “Killer Cowboy Clouds”


So why did you decide to paint the Marlboro man?

I had smoked 13 years previously and thought it would be an honor to Marlboro cowboy billboard ads that got me hooked. My father and brother both smoked.  My father got throat cancer from smoking 15 years.  I think my brother may die eventually of some cigarette related cancer.

Why did you choose Marlboro man vs. Joe Camel or other famous cigarette ads?

Well, Marlboro had essentially 1% of the market, selling only to women, moved to dominate the market place as number one after the cowboy billboard ads.  Later as the governments started to ban most forms of advertising, this just allowed Marlboro to be unchallenged for number one.  Camel Joe is an interesting image as well since most children can readily identify him instantly.  This suggests Camel may come to dominate in the near future the next generation of smokers.

Which brand dominated before Marlboro man came along?

I believe it was Lucky Strike.

What about the surge of vapor smoking?
I think the Marlboro, Lucky Strike and other traditional cigarette brands are in possible deep trouble since there is no limit on vaper smoking indoors and the advertising as well.  The worst advertising is one you cannot compete against say on TV and radio.  Additionally, this type of smoking is a bit healthier since they eliminate the tar and is mostly nicotine.

So what happened to the original Marlboro man?

Four of the real cowboys that starred as Marlboro man died of related smoking diseases.  This led to the name “Cowboy Killers”.

Why do you have other people in the background?

Besides tobacco companies, many other groups promoted smoking and profited it from it.  One of the obvious pairings was Hollywood from James Dean to Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Jack Nicholson to Schwarzenegger to Sharon Stone. Other groups include musicians like Snoop Dogg and Bob Marley. Other artists behind the trend include

But beside blaming the music industry, Hollywood and pop artists, politicians are a major driver of encouraging smoking:
– Barack Obama
– Jack Kennedy
– Che Guevarra
– Fidel Castro
– Mao
– Lenin
– Stalin
– Winston Churchill
– Franklin Roosevelt
– Ayn Rand
Some of the worst part of the political connection was the politicians passing a draft and then encouraging soldiers to smoke with free tobacco and lighters.  The tobacco industry got tobacco included in soldier rations for WW2. Before the knowledge of the connection of smoking to disease and government regulation, cigarette makers like Lucky Strike used doctors and dentists to recommend smoking.
What happened to the original blog with images?
Well, do you think the tobacco industry sits on its hands? It had all my links dropped for copyright violation. So you see the power of these guys trying to expose its role models to pitch this drug.

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at




Snopes TV

Phillip Morris


Lucky Strikes

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Interview of the Nite Owl

Originally posted by Street Art SF on March 11


By Street Art SF Team on March 11, 2013


I guess the biggest influence hands down has been Dr. Seuss. The creativity of this guy and his working in the “fantastic” world have really been a source for me to draw from later on down the road.

When did you start making street art? What was it that got you started?
Well, after being on the streets for more years than i care to admit i stopped doing graffiti around 2000. I became a bit bored with it all and decided to take a break from the life and pursue other interests. Of course after a few years of inactivity I realized that i missed being out on the streets. Around 2006 i came back to the game but with a more focused artistic vision as opposed to just running around and dropping tags on the town.


How did you come up with your name ?
Technically, i didn’t come up with that name. One of my clients nicknamed me the “Nite Owl” due to my habit of not answering his emails before 2am. I liked the name and just kind of ran with it. It fits me well, i’m a product of the 90′s rave scene –  i like staying up late, watching the sunrise and drinking dubious amounts of coffee.

Do you have an art and design background? If so can you elaborate a bit?
Yes, i have a design background. I have a couple of architecture degrees to fall back on if my art doesn’t do so well. In my spare time i design homes throughout California, but my main focus is in the Bay Area and San Diego. When i’m not painting owls i’m designing custom homes for people with elevated design sensibilities.


What type of piece do you do?
I’m mostly known for my proficiency in the slap game, but i also do multi-plate stencil work, hand painted wheatpastes and i rock character based murals when there is wall space available.

What type of tools do you use?
Vinyl and hand drawn stickers (USPS and UPS slaps), Spray paint, Ink, pencil, X-acto blades – i’m not shouting out brand names since those companies don’t sponsor me.


Where can your pieces be seen? Do you do walls, installations, trains, sidewalk pieces etc…
In the Bay Area, Tahoe, San Diego, NYC, umm, my slaps are everywhere. I tend to travel frequently. I have a few murals running in Oakland and some new walls in the works. I paint in the Lilac Alleys in San Francisco. You may have see some of the trucks I’ve painted rolling by during biz hours. I’ve hooked up with our local weekly paper and to customize a few of their boxes. Keep your eyes open, i have some cutty spots in the town and some cutty objects rolling around the streets daily. If you watch the local news there is a good chance of seeing my work there.


Do you work by yourself or do you collaborate with others?
For the majority of my career i primarily worked solo, but over the past few years I’ve linked up with a few solid individuals in The Town that i’m always down to go out on the streets with or make art with. I guess this is where i shout out the homies: much respect to Onedr, Eddie Colla, Aura, Reggie Warlock, Filth Grime, Basic Lee, Saltr, Chris Micro and of course madd shouts to my dog, Chuwee. She’s been with me on about 90% of my solo missions. More shouts to The Others and the Chopsticks crew.


Is there a specific message you’re trying to get across?
No, no real message for me. I try not to cloud my artwork with the serious stuff. If you’re reading something that I painted, then it’s more social commentary than it is art… If there is a message then it is up to you to delve into my works and pull it out of the images I’ve painted. I prefer to paint and let the colors i use assault your senses. While I don’t have a message I haven’t shied away from working with a few groups who have one. Most recently I did some artwork for the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition and I was also behind some of the better artwork that graced the exterior of the Occupy Oakland bus.

Come to think of it I guess there is an intrinsic message in my actions…get off the couch and do something … fuck the establishment … the streets are ours.


Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m inspired by day to day life. The constant struggle, the unanswered questions . . . just waking up and seeing the sunshine inspires me. I’m inspired by people who have had to deal with greater struggles than i have and continue to go on regardless.

What art / artist influenced you in your formative years ? Are there any now?
I guess the biggest influence hands down has been Dr. Suess. The creativity of this guy and his working in the “fantastic” world have really been a source for me to draw from later on down the road. While living on the East Coast i spent plenty of time strolling through the galleries and museums. The cubists. surrealists and the abstract expressionists have had the most impact on my art. It may not be evident, but it’s there in principle. Japanese manga, comic books and other people’s sketchbooks have always inspired me. The streets of NYC in my youth really played a huge part in my development.  As for artists out there now that influence me…first off, all my friends that i create with. I’m a huge fan of Murakami, Dalek, Kaws, Robots Will Kill, Dabs and Myla, Nychos . . . i could go on, but i won’t. Honestly, anyone who has been able to develop their own style and just straight rock it like nobody else can.


Did you doodle as a child?
are you kidding me? I’m a chronic doodler. my parents bought me a new box of crayons weekly, and not because i was eating them. Yes, i doodled…i couldn’t stop and all these years later i still can’t ! I go through pens and markers like nobodies business.


I am fascinated with the diversity of street artist. Some I have met work as full time creative artist by day and on the streets at night. Other artists have a 9-5 style job that is not artistic at all and street art is their creative outlet. What do you do day to day? Does your day job have anything to do with art? Is this a full time thing for you?

I think that is what is really cool about the whole graffiti / street art scene… there are no barriers to entry. Anyone can do it, you don’t have to be an artist to get up.  That’s also what sucks about it…you have people with zero talent going out there and making a mess of it all. There are a bunch of tags and images out there that are so lacking in style and thought that I personally want to buff them …

Anyway, back to the question . . . I’m a self employed designer / photographer / artist and I’ve been doing it on my own for over a decade now. While my work may be creative, the end product isn’t necessarily for me, so being on the streets is my own personal creative outlet.

I think it is interesting that you moved from photography to art. I wonder if photography changes the way you look at things and consequently your art?
well, i didn’t actually move from photography to art, it’s the reverse. I picked up photography shortly after college and I began to document the world that i saw around me.  Couple this with my travel to far off lands and then i really got into it. Photography definitely changes the way i looked at my art. It really taught me about how one’s eye perceives a piece and moves around that piece, hint, you never start by looking directly into the center of a piece. trust me…this probably explains why my subjects are never in the middle of a composition. Photography taught me about balance, borders and framing, and most importantly, how to make a static 2 dimensional piece into something dynamic that wants to leap off a page.


Do you travel to do street art in different places or do you do street art when you travel ?
I travel for the sake of travel. I’m afflicted with wanderlust. Ever since my first trip to Europe I’ve been all about exploiting cheap airfares and friends in other time zones. When i travel i always have a stack of slaps, some pasters and a marker in my bag. I leave my mark in one way or another.

I’ve painted in other cities, but i really like painting at home more. I prefer a more intimate audience.  I really love it when little kids tell me they’ve seen my murals or posters. What’s the point of traveling to another country to paint when none of my peoples are going to be able to see it except via some shitty internet flick from someone’s cell phone ? I like the local fame, being a street name in Oakland is way more appealing than being an internet all-star collecting pointless “LIKES”.

That being said, if you’re down to fund my travel i’ll go paint anywhere if i can have some extra time to kick it and experience your city. I do make it a point to return to NYC twice a year minimum. San Diego a few times per year as well and i winter in Tahoe. I also make it a point to visit at least one new city per year…so yeah, I spread those slaps –  Nite Owl has wings !


Do you have an upcoming project or show you want me to let people know about?
Yes, there are a few things going on in my world in the near future:
In April i’m taking part in a group show, The Elefunk Gallery, that is creating works in honor of Patti Astor’s book and experiences at the FUN Gallery back in the glorious 80′s. There is a gallery show at Loakal opening on April 5 and we are doing a wall jam with the artists involved. I’m working on a wall with Onedr, Ernest Doty, Griffin and Such from AZ. The Ex Vandal crew will be rocking the adjacent wall.The walls are being painted on April 27th with a closing show at Loakal that night. We’re also working on a secret “hotel” show for an upcoming Art Murmur /First Friday event. Next up, It’s a bit off in the distance, but we’re planning a 4 day,  back to back weekend jam for The Others at Chopsticks UAS in June 2013. It will coincide with the Oakland open studios – June 8, 9, 15 and 16. Don’t sleep on this one. Nite Owl, Onedr, Reggie Warlock, Basic Lee, Lisa Pisa, Chris Micro, Fem One and a few others will be displaying character based artworks alongside some sick local DJ talent. On the heels of that, The Others will also be doing a smaller show at Spice Monkey in downtown Oakland on July 6. Aside from that show you can typically find my work at Chopsticks Urban Art Space in East Oakland

Can’t get enough of Nite Owl? Check out his website and his photographs on Fatcap Follow him onfacebook or shop his online store

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at

What is a reasonable gallery exclusivity in sales area?

ShawN shawN • Linda good question. As far as what is reasonable, I think about 30-50 miles is easily covered by one art dealer. Ideally, you want multiple locations in different cities, which may be the situation as you ran into. There is a basis for the gallery for exclusivity within a major city, so they can drive sales to your work and they don’t feel undercut by another gallery. Galleries will sell at different price points, so this is relevant to a gallery. If you are highly productive and selling a large volume of work, I would assume you would want multiple gallery representation, but again likely 1 per major city. Some artists like Gehardt Richter use one gallery exclusively and the gallery will farm out the sales of all his works. How one gallery manages all his sales I don’t know, but that model can work. Hope this helps!

What do you think of my website?


 ShawN shawN • Hi Qi, 

 Well, I took an in-depth look at your website.

Your realism art is amazing! Wow! Very breath-taking. I would say that your work appears to be going in multiple directions, which may cut down on its collectibility from a gallery perspective. I also think it would be more interesting to do more scenes of China, perhaps your childhood, etc. You may want to consider stripping out the sketches from the website and other studio work… it weakens your portfolio as your other work feels more richer, full of painting and more finished; quality is excellent in the drawing, but unless this is the focus, you might lower its prominence. 

 For the website, I saw some great pluses. I loved the simple outlay with a red side line and black center background. Simplicity is great in design and enhances the art and focuses customers on what you are selling. As far as the fonts on the side left, I wasn’t impressed. This font is clear (which is very important), but somehow is just to simple or boring compared to your artwork. Maybe a more elegant script or font to fit in better. Some of the headers of the main pages are a bit repetitive: portrait art, military art, etc. Maybe just list Artwork (with no links) and then the styles: portraits, military, illustrations, originals for sale. That will cut a bit on SEO, but maybe stronger on the titles. 

 The video you made is very strong and is a great selling point. It is a great idea to have the main page having this strong video. You may want to do some other videos that demonstrate your working style, which I think is huge draw for other artists and also the clients like this. I made a whole video of my Facebook commission and gave it to the clients. The videos also show the authenticity of a work, which increases the collectibility of the object, which then increases the price point for you as the artist on later works. 

The bottom links repeat the top side bar, which I understand to keep it simple for the user. I would make sure it is the same font as the side bar or perhaps a more elegant font. Typewriter font just doesn’t work for me. You can look to galleries for ideas on fonts that look more artistic and professional. 

 The About page is very simple and elegant. I think you might add a bit more meat on the bones. You could put why you became an artist, break-through works for you, how you like NYC vs. Beijing as an art residence. I think a bit more personal will work better than simply the schools and that you do freelance. There needs to have a journey and why you are unique to the other 1000s of artists in NYC. Who are your major influences and how did that impact your work? What did you think of the SF vs. NYC art scenes? What did you think of FIT or major influences there? 

 The button on the Military art once you open the page does not work for some reason.


My life in 5 lines

I found this awesome blog project for artists. It basically is your life in 5 lines, your age and your name… that’s it! I just submitted mine:

I knew the victim and perpetrator in a rape killing
I saw the Berlin Wall fall behind the Berlin Wall
I got married in German to a Spaniard in Germany
I saw the birth of the Euro in Brussels
I painted 303 Signatures and scared the CCP government

ShawNshawN, age 41


Does any one have any suggestions for a website that is user friendly but has gallery capability?

ShawN shawN • Good question Jennifer. Personally, I just use the Mac iWeb software to get your nice basic website, which came free with my Mac. Its a decent program that is simple to use and allows you to focus on painting.

Another strong program that is free is by weebly. We use it at our gallery, which allows nice simple easy to use pages to upload work as well. I would use either the Mac or Weebly to get started. After you get a better feel for software, you can upgrade to something else.

I would say that another great way to market is to join the numerous free art websites and link them back to your own website. This increases your search ranking in Google, so you are quickly found. Websites I use and link together include:




* (prints)

* (books)

* (art on clothing, mugs, etc.)




* Twitter

* Tumblr

* WordPress




I would try to dominate by using these websites the entire first page of Google, so only your name stands out, so you don’t get customers clicking on some other Jennifer.

Another important part of any website is the blog, which you already started. This will greatly add appeal to the website beyond just searching for art imagery. Best of luck on the website.

How do you feel about paying gallery fees that take fifty percent of the selling price of your work?


ShawN shawN • Great question Richard. I think all artists debate on the commission to the gallery that feels reasonable. Currently, I am at a gallery at 80/20, which is unusual and pay rent as well. Their old setup was 55/45 and rent. The new rate is much better, but the location just isn’t pulling in clients as much. 

My rule of thumb is are they selling your work briskly? If they are doing a great job selling your work, you may be able to find another gallery far away to start selling work as well at better commission rates. Your work should be selling and in the marketplace to increase prices long term. If this 50/50 gallery is selling work and you don’t have to pay to show, that’s not bad as long as they are moving the work. As you get better known, you can negociate a better split. 

The best example is Damien Hirst. He was selling well in UK galleries, but still had the bulk of his best work. Then after he was well-established, he went around the galleries to the auction houses and lowered his cost from the 60/40 down to the 3% of auction houses. Now for the majority of artists, they just aren’t going to reach Hirst demand to try that. A gallery does do marketing and selling for you while you work. 

Another thing is that for the gallery split you can build their split into your price, so you don’t feel ripped off. Just remember galleries are offering a valuable service of selling while you paint. 

I think focusing on getting your work into multiple cities and doing your own marketing will help bring up your prices, so you can afford the 50/50 split or bargain for a lower split elsewhere. No marketing leads to low sales and low prices long-term.

How to market via word cloud. What the heck is a word cloud?

Today I got an ad about word cloud technology that at first I thought was junk mail, but turns out is very useful. Have you ever seen those jumble of words off to the side of a website? Basically, that is word cloud technology.
So why is it useful? It looks like a simple jumble of words, but is stating the highest word count for a particular webpage. Ok, interesting, so what? You can use the word cloud software to compare say your art resume, CV, website and statement to say an art competition request, call to artist and all their related web literature. In this way you can literally skim each of the quality words a gallery or show is looking for in a possible artist candidate. Of course, with visual media there are limitations to the usefulness, but I think it gives a candidate an edge.

Below is a site I recommend to use that works on Safari and Firefox browsers on a Mac. On a PC, you can use IE, Chrome or Firefox. 


My Word Cloud:

Word Cloud Website: Wordle