Words By: Katie Farley
Representing the latest cohort of modern visual artists who are applying their craft to illuminate negative stereotypes, Shawn Theodore promotes aesthetics that echo and inspire. Being an interdisciplinary artist, he intermingles photography, collage, and sculpture to form afro-mythological surroundings, snapshots, and objects.
Equipped with a camera, Theodore spotlights his subjects, frequently regarded as invisible, and turns them into visible and relevant figures. Throughout a world that treats people of color as insignificant and immaterial. The artist’s proficiency in composition and light are distinctive amid his many striking and intuitive creations.
“My work, as of this moment, is about combining vulnerable spaces with vulnerable people to tell unknown stories,” explains Theodore. “A viewer of my work can see examples of contemporary African American people, neighborhoods, places, and spaces that are tangible and familiar, and they may also experience my allegorical interpretations of the African Diasporan spiritual experience through ancestral connectivity and the practice of traditional African religious beliefs.”
Theodore’s passion for photography transpired into a penchant for collaging, which evolved between 1991 to 2008, carrying the intention of honing his dexterities first. Most of the collage work drew similarities to the photography for which he would eventually become known. Creating collages is an essential part of his working practice today, and it is Theodore’s passion for the formation of images that accelerates his desire to be an artist.
“What I enjoy most about being an artist in this day and time is the limitless power of nuance within the being, or soul if you will, of blackness. It has been an absolute joy over the past decade to create works for exhibition in galleries, fairs, and museums. And there is another kind of satisfaction that comes from being hired to create a visual language and content for international media outlets and corporations intended for Black people.”
Theodore feels that his aesthetic values are always evolving in ways that he cannot truly measure; thus, it is the audience that is changing and growing. He can quantify the reach and influence of his work on a global, historical stage. With that said, the method and pace in which he produces his work have dramatically shifted to a more deliberate pace.
Amid his thought-provoking, eye-catching, and contemporary artworks, Shawn Theodore brings a kind soul, a critical eye, and a love for the craft to our attention.