Featured Artist Julie Peterson-Shea

Artist Julie Peterson-Shea combines dark subject matter with an odd sense of humor to create compelling pen and ink drawings. See more of her portfolio on her website.

 

pen and ink drawing of a skeleton by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Dead Man’s Hand Just Frank” pen and ink, 9″ x 12″

 

I have been asked one question many times, “Why do you create dark and creepy illustrations when you can create beautiful nature-inspired artwork?”

 

pen and ink drawing of a faun by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Faun and Flora” pen and ink, 8″ x 9″

 

The short answer is, “It just feels right.”

 

pen and ink drawing of a skull by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Always Cheerful” pen in ink, 8″ x 8″

 

It is never my intention to choose subject matter that is creepy or horrific. I just see the world through a lens of my interests, experiences, and emotions—not to mention my odd sense of humor.

 

pen and ink of a woman and skulls by Julie Peterson-Shea

“More Than the Sum of My Parts” pen and ink, 11″ x 14″

 

The question that usually follows, “What is the meaning behind your work?”

 

pen and ink drawing of a dragonfly with a skull by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Dragonfly” pen and ink, 12″ x 9″

 

As an overthinker, I enjoy symbolism and finding and creating meaning through my artwork. Victorian flowers, religious and secular symbols, and my own personal visual language often allude to the larger concepts, ideas, or messages.

 

pen and ink drawing of a skull by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Ambition and Frank” pen and ink, 7.5″ x 9.5″

 

To me, it is important to create meaning and express ideas and emotions in my work. It is equally important that the viewer can interpret each piece and find their own meaning.

 

pen and ink drawing of a skeletal rib cage by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Bee Still My Heart” pen and ink, 11″ x 14″

 

Of course, I am also asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

 

pen and ink drawing of a skull and a bird by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Harvest” pen and ink, 13″ x 11″

 

Much of my work is introspective and the physical product of my attempts to understand and make friends with my demons. Through my artwork, I have become more aware and accepting of who I am. As a mother and a teacher, it is my hope that I can inspire others to accept themselves and be their authentic true selves.

 

pen and ink figurative drawing by Julie Peterson-Shea

“To Everything There is a Season” pen and ink, 11″ x 14″

 

From a young age, I knew that creating art was just part of who I am, so it was no surprise when I pursued a career through which I could share my drive to create.

 

pen and ink drawing of a skeleton by Julie Peterson-Shea

“Memento Mori Spring” pen and ink, 11″ x 14″

 

I completed a BA in Education in 1992 and an MFA with an emphasis in Drawing in 2002. For the last twenty-six years, I have taught high school, middle school and adult art classes in a small rural Kansas town. In addition to teaching, I have also illustrated several young adult and children’s books and displayed my work in places such as Chicago, Tampa and various locations in the state of Kansas.

 

Artist Julie Peterson-Shea invites you to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

 

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