World News It's All Relative Did You Know? Opinion On The Streets
Vancouver is a city loaded with local artistic talent and there is no short supply of painters who derive their inspiration from our local city streets.  I met one such artist named Jon Shaw a few weeks ago while riding the elevator to work, and after checking out his portfolio his work truly inspired me.

It was then that I knew I had to get an exclusive interview. Below is a transcribe of our conversation.

Hey Jon, thanks for taking the time to interview with me. Can you give a brief background on who you are, what your background is, and what brought you into the highly sought after art scene in Vancouver?

Hey! I’m a trained artist and designer. I went to art school in the Maritimes then design school in Ontario. Currently I work as a graphic designer in the day to pay my bills. I’m combining techniques of art and design to help build my presence, create interesting painting painting techniques, and establish an online business of selling greeting cards with my works on them for a very affordable rate.

I came to Vancouver a couple of years ago as a change of scenery – when I arrived I actually hadn’t painted since graduating art school in 2008 – I started doing that again just about two years ago once I settled here.

There is a real street influence to much of your work, can you talk about what inspires you most? 

My current work focuses on urban imagery, which is something I’m interested in because of the visual complexities and colourful branding. Corporate branding is interesting because posters, logos and images fade, deteriorate and change over time. Other adornments such as stickers, graffiti, etc are also forms of brand identity and recognition – just done so by individuals, not corporations. I find these deteriorations and gradual evolutions of the urban landscape interesting, and I love capturing those layers and densities.

You recently ran an exhibit at the Pendulum Gallery, can you tell us a bit about it and anything upcoming? 
For sure. Yes, correct, I recently hosted a group show with two friends at the Pendulum Gallery on Georgia Street (in the foyer of the HSBC Building). It was great - it was an urban themed show titled “City:Life”. I’m always doing what I can with shows.

Right now I’m playing a bit of catch-up on commissions and starting my next bodies of work. I just did a number of shows, so I’m happy to relax in the studio a bit and create some cool new stuff.

I am a huge fan of the "No Left Turns" piece on your website, which would you consider your biggest accomplishment? 

Ya, that’s a good one, I made that piece for a charity auction last year. I wouldn’t say I have a particular piece that I’m most proud of – I’m just so stoked on everything that’s happening with all the growth in general. I am proud of the big body of work I’ve done in a couple of years. However, if its based on audience feedback, two of the most popular pieces I’ve made are an elephant portrait titled “Loxodonta Africana” and a representation of the Only Seafoods Café sign on Hastings Street titled “Lonely Only”.

So what are your next steps? Where is the artist Jon heading next with his work? 

The biggest thing I want to do next is work larger. I’m starting a new personal piece for my apartment that will be the largest one yet – 4x4 foot. In terms of art that isn’t particularly huge, but with all the fine drawing work my pieces tend to cap at about 3 foot. I want to push that. Good artists never settle on any particular method for too long – one needs to keep evolving! I also want to start an ongoing abstract piece that will continue for a year or more…I just need to figure out what kind of surface to do it on.

Any advice to aspiring artists looking to make it on the Vancouver scene? 

I tell everyone that they need to work consistently (not necessarily a LOT, but consistently producing is important). You also need to be very friendly, and have initiative…and carry a piece of your in-progress work with you everywhere you can, and take any chance to work on it (on the bus, in a coffee shop, etc). Start conversations, take a random step to show your work to a stranger or talk about it.

Don’t be standoffish – people are often afraid to initiate conversation about your work. Do that work for them and it’ll turn into a great conversation. If somebody sees you with a piece of your art, the ice is already broken – its nervousness that holds people back from generating interaction.

Where can people get a look at your latest work? 

You can LIKE my facebook page to see consistent pictures of in-progress and finished works –…and all other information such as my contact, links to my gallery and shop, etc are on my main site –

Thanks for taking the time to chat Jon!

Thank you!

Be sure to follow Jon at his website and keep up-to-date with his latest works:

Until next time!


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