Born in 1952, Midland, MI, US
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, US
M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, US
B.F.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, US
It's always been a challenge to get one's arms around Shaw's work drawn upon multiple sources, including his personal psychological obsessions, as well as his omnivorous appetite for American pop culture, to make witty and downright weird art. His work is at once universal in its popular imagery and intensely personal in its self-expression. Freudian connections between past, present, future, dreams and his permanent disbelief for consumerism leading to comfort and happiness, in other word, a therapist's dream. Shaw cultivates a permanent suspiciousness about his work, his heroes, his characters and even his personal history. A whirling of high and low culture hurled to our face with amusement and such an artistry making his images so well entertaining.
Originally from Michigan, Shaw was part of a group of young artists who redefined art in Los Angeles in the 1980s. His early work deployed a virtuoso drawing style to create mysterious, surreal portraits. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he produced his sprawling series My Mirage, which tells the story of an American boy growing up amid the tumult of the late twentieth century through an encyclopedic compendium of graphic styles. In the mid-1990s, Shaw began his iconic series Dream Drawings and Dream Objects, for which he used his own nighttime visions as the source for endless new images to produce when he awoke. In recent years, he has created a number of large-scale painted backdrops combining characters and narratives from throughout history to explore the roots of America's cultural, religious, and political identity.