My compositions to date are the culmination of years of giving form and life to envisioned worlds and ideas that extend beyond our common existence. These creative sensibilities began in early childhood with a fascination with fantasy and science fiction. My aesthetic is also very much influenced by video game technology, as advancements in the art form gave way to more three-dimensional and lifelike animation in the mid-nineties. As with science fiction, my interest in virtual gaming united my love for fantasy with visual graphics that matched my artistic vision.
I studied Computer Art and Illustration at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit, Michigan, hoping to better understand and perhaps artistically fuse my two passions. It was during this time that I developed a particular style, as well as the concept for what is now my current series. Following graduation I began my career in the computer graphics industry by moving to Los Angeles for my first gaming position. A year later, I found myself in San Francisco working on EA's Lord of the Rings game, one of industry's leading video game developers.
For the past three years I have devoted much time and effort on my current series, which focuses on the Barramundi concepts of life and spirituality. The Barramundi, native to Australia, is believed to be one of the last practicing aboriginal tribes to have resisted total conformation to the modern world. Central to their spirituality is the belief that every living thing has an afterlife and will continue onward in a postmortem dream world. To the Barramundi, the act of hunting is only for necessity, and every animal killed is ushered into the spirit world with the assistance of aboriginal artisans. These artists draw basic geometric outlines of the particular animal species, and fill them with line markings to represent each creature slain, so as to ensure their passage into the afterlife.
The first phase of my series began with focus on the butterfly image, as the Barramundi regard them to be the most sacred of all creatures, the vehicle that carries the soul to the dream world. After having explored the various facets of the insect's form, I then moved onto refining my technique, the fruits of which appear on my website to date.
Combining my love for creative expression and fantasy, my works strive to convey both the realistic and unworldly into single, harmonious arrangements. By doing so, I hope to engage my viewers in captivating images that speak to the beauty that surrounds us and the possibilities that may exist beyond our tangible realities.
My method of execution is one I have worked to refine for years and is quite similar to that of classical oil painting, as it demands multiple applications of color. Though my passion for color and light shines through every composition, color pencil is my preferred medium at present, due in part to its fine, chalky appearance. Light layering with the pencil is what gives the illusion of depth and life to the drawing.
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Shawn Kawa joined Fine Art America on August 27th, 2012.