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Check out Sharon Shapiro’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Shapiro.

Sharon, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
As a child, I was repeatedly told that I was overly sensitive and too stubborn: traits that I now know are crucial to being an artist. When I was nineteen, I realized I wanted to become a painter, and that came as a surprise to me. Although I was enrolled in a serious art program as an undergrad, I went for fashion illustration, not fine arts. The summer before my second year of college, my dad suggested that I take an oil painting class–which looking back is odd, since he was a clothing store owner and had wanted me to pursue fashion in some way. Once I made my first painting I was hooked on the magic of creating my own world from a blank slate.

After taking some necessary time off from school due to family events, I eventually graduated in 1993 from the Atlanta College of Art. While working at a gift and flower shop in Virginia Highlands, I entered and was accepted into a juried show at the Hastings Seed Building (before it was turned into stylish loft apartments). That particular exhibit garnered attention from gallery dealers and collectors, mainly because of the quality of the jurors. I had my first solo show about a year later (at Chassie Post Gallery) and have been showing and selling my work since then.

My path has been circuitous and filled with ups and downs, but my identity of being a painter is pretty strong. I was asked recently to give six reasons why I paint and this is what I came up with:

1. Painting connects me to a history that I’ve searched for my whole life.

2. Painting persists. It refuses to die, no matter how many times it has been declared dead. It’s here to stay and I will never give it up.

3. Painting is personal. It is one of the most personal things in the world.

4. I see almost everything as a painted surface.

5. Painting allows me to come up with different outcomes.

6. Painting is my way of teaching myself empathy.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I offer a candy apple with a razor blade inside. Exploring facets of memory, I use beauty in my paintings to serve as a temptation for the viewer. Upon closer inspection, the cracks in the artifice reveal a darker side. I create images of the social and private lives of women and children as a means to express vulnerability. I chronicle the complexities of growing up female in America.

I’ve long been fascinated by the conflict between inner and outer existence; a person’s placid exterior often belies a riotous inner core. Painting is a cunning vessel for the tension and insatiable yearning that lurk beneath the surface of what we see. My work portrays opposing forces, subject matter both gentle and abrasive, fantastic and real, utopian and dystopian.

Recently, I’ve been using visual disruptions with patterning and vibrant color. I combine representation and abstraction to create an experience that interests both the brain and the body. The narrative aspect in my art results from my ongoing struggle to establish a sense of place in a world where meaning shifts and recollections fail. I use imagery that is familiar and identifiable, but give it new substance in intimations neglected or unseen. Creating harmony from disparate sources, I ask the onlooker to fasten to the unique elements of my work while proposing an enduring uncertainty.

How can artists connect with other artists?
It’s important to keep a core group of artists close, friends that you trust and give honest feedback on your work. It’s easy to get fooled into thinking what you’re doing is fantastic (when it’s not) or god-awful (when it’s not).

I have done more than several artist residencies over the last ten years and they have all been great, in different ways. The similarity between all of them is that I’ve met some wonderful people at each of them. I stay in touch with a handful of poets, fiction writers, and artists that I befriended while working together in Wyoming, Virginia, Illinois, and Georgia.

Currently I’m in a low-residency graduate program at the Maine College of Art. I work in Portland for 8 weeks in the summer and then from home the rest of the year. I’ll be finished this time next year, but I know that I will remain in contact with some of my peers. I lucked out to land in a supportive group of cohorts, especially after waiting until I had 22 years of professional practice behind me to go back to school.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
In person– which is the best way to view art– my work can be seen at {Poem 88} Gallery in the Floataway building (1123 Zonolite Rd NE). I’ve been represented by the gallery for seven years, have had two solo shows and been in six group shows, including the most recent one this past March, “Le Chic, with six other women artists,

This summer, I am part of a group show titled “Futures” at Workhouse Arts Center, a non-profit art space outside of Washington, DC. There will be an opening reception and artist talk on Saturday, July 14th. Workhouse was formerly a prison and an alcohol rehab center with fascinating history : http://www.workhousearts.org/about/history/

Thanks to Canvas Art Consultants and Amy Parry Projects, eleven different images of my work are now hanging in the guestrooms of the newly renovated Hotel Clermont. Whether you book a King or Queen room at this iconic Atlanta motor-lodge-turned-boutique-hotel, you will see some of my vintage favorites on the wall.

I try to keep my website current, I also have a facebook artist page, and I post on Instagram often. Please follow me there! https://www.instagram.com/sharonshapiro/.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
#5 — Stacey Evans

#6– Jon Ciliberto

#8– Brandon Bishop

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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