Featured Artist Shawn Conn

Artist Shawn Conn combines pop art with abstract expressionism to create portraits with dramatic impact. Discover more of his work by visiting his website.

 

Abstract portrait of Abraham Lincoln Acrylic painting by Shawn Conn

“#16″ Acrylic, 30″ x 40”

 

In first grade, my class was asked to draw our favorite birds. I finished my drawing of a robin and the girl who sat next to me noticed it and asked me if I would draw her a bluebird. After I finished her drawing, she gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was at that moment, I knew. I was going to be an artist.

 

"Blue Suede Shoes" Acrylic painting of Elvis Presley by Shawn Conn

“Blue Suede Shoes” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

I took art all through high school and attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in painting. In my junior year, life took a turn and I became a young father. This forced me to drop out of school.

 

Abstract portrait painting by artist Shawn Conn

“Satin Sheets” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

I eventually ended up in the army and after serving my tour, I embarked on a career as a tattooist in order to stay connected to art and still earn a living.

 

Abstract acrylic portrait of Marilyn Monroe by artist Shawn Conn

“Some Like It Hot” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

I painted as time would allow and in 2006, at the urging of my wife, I began to pursue my painting career again. In 2010, after showing in a number of group shows I felt my work was becoming contrived for the sake of entering shows, so I pulled back.

 

Abstract portrait of John F. Kennedy by painter Shawn Conn

“The Fall of Camelot” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

For the next seven years I worked to really identify my impetus for creating and to define a style for my art.

 

Abstract portrait by artist Shawn Conn, painted in acrylics

“The Muse of Creation” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

Growing up at the tail end of the atomic age exposed me to a wondrous cacophony of comics, cartoons, movies and advertising. During my time at art school, I discovered pop art and was immediately drawn to it.

 

Abstract portrait of Sylvester Stallone painted by Shawn Conn

“The Rage of the Paternal” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

All of the bright colors and bold images that seemed playful on the surface contained a sarcasm that appealed to my own sharp wit.

 

Abstract painting of a woman screaming by artist Shawn Conn

“The Scream of the Maternal” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn and the abstract expressionists were another discovery during my time at school. I became obsessed with finding a way to merge the two art forms into a cohesive body of work.

 

Colorful portrait of Alfred E. Neumann by artist Shawn Conn

“What, Me Worry?” Acrylic, 30” x 40”

 

A myriad of painting ideas flood my brain at any given time. Some have deep meaning—political, social, cultural, etc. Some only have a vague meaning behind them and I just paint the subject because it sounds pretty damn cool! A lot of my art centers on the iconography and the film, TV and musical stimuli from my youth during the late 60’s and through the 70’s into the 80’s.

 

Artist Shawn Conn in his studio

Artist Shawn Conn in his studio

 

I primarily paint in acrylic, but have started to use oils, as well as mixed media. I’ve also begun to explore integrating digital art into my traditional painting process. The explosion of digital painting has introduced a whole new level to pop culture art and what it means to be an artist in the 21st century.

 

Artist Shawn Conn invites you to follow him on Instagram.

 

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