Shawnimals is the art and design work of Chicago-based creative Shawn Smith. He has produced countless commissioned and public works and fun, artful products over the years; some of which live in his home city of Chicago, others around the world as far away at Tokyo. For the most up-to-date look at the body of work he's producing, look no further than his Instagram feed. For art and mural commissions, use the form below. You can also find the shop here.
A bit more on my creative process
Pop culture is an interesting thing. For many of us, it informs our aesthetics, not to mention our... well, worldview in some ways. Cartoons, comics, movies, video games and other such forms of media, whether for kids, adults, or both, and whether mainstream, underground, or... something else entirely (R. Crumb's creations, Fritz the Cat, Maus, etc) can be fun distractions and yet deeply immersive simultaneously. My visual interests were born from these things, and eventually become a hybrid further informed by my personal life and observations.
While simple and cartoon on the surface, and beyond formal decisions on color, compositions, and so on, I play with emotions, aspects of community, distortions of reality, memory, and other devices to allow, if not prompt, the viewer to go deeper.
On the other hand, sometimes my work is made for a client to evoke an emotion in a customer or capture an otherwise intangible aspect of a brand. I also love this kind of problem-solving, which is similar to but ultimately different from my studio practice (I also love how these can peacefully coexist, by the way).
I think it's important to create work that doesn't exclude, but is rather relatable on some level to invite a viewer in. Once there, the hope is they dig deeper, of course.
The video below also speaks to how I think about work generally, as part of a mural project I created with Flashpoint Chicago...