SHAWN BAKER

I grew up with beatnik parents.  They danced in sarongs to classical music.  There was always a tree in the living room and bamboo blinds.
My sister read Tolstoy at 12 and I, well Idanced, jumped on my trampoline and did acrobatics.

Later in life, my mother designed clothing and my dad, furniture, and my sister became a fine artist. When we moved to New York to further my parents furniture business,  I went to the High School of Performing Arts for dance and later to Juilliard.  I married at 21 and have 2 beautiful boys.  When the boys were still very little, and with no experience at all – I didn’t know how to make brewed coffee – I created an outdoor Cafe with a partner – The Cafe in the Mews, in Stockbridge, MA. It was a huge hit in a town that catered to theater, dance and art.  And later with an equal lack of knowledge, I published a magazine I called The Berkshire Restaurant and Entertainment Guide. In the late 80’s I started SignWorks – my first foray into any sort of art life.  Having no real idea how to make signs, I let plain old good taste and some natural ability for design, dictate.  I develloped a niche in the area for artisticsignage.  Outside business life, I was always designing and making things –  table tops, wild sweaters, faux fur coats, even desks and fabric hangings, bookcases and anything I wanted and couldn’t find or afford to buy.  I was hungry for art, for beauty and color. Sign life was challenging and fun but I longed for a more artistic expression.

AND THEN THE ANGELS ARRANGED THIS ONE!
One winter in the early 90’s, I loaned a friend who had a printing business, a couple thousand dollars which was to be repaid the following week.  The week came and went and so did the friend. He went bankrupt and disappeared abandonning, by that time,  a half looted house.  My boyfriend at the time – a ‘make my day’ kind of guy – suggested we go out to the house at night and see what we could find.  So under cover of darknesswe coasted onto the property.  Silently with little flashlights darting around we found the houseand garage open and windblown.  Half an hour later, I”d filled the truck with a great file cabinet that I subsequently used for 20 years, a fireplace wood holder AND reams and reams of a thin coated paper from his printing business, that just appealed to me.  We crept away with our booty.  A successful heist.

One idle evening, more than a year later,  I got out some inks and a square tipped 1″ brush.  I lightly pulled the brush along the stolen paper, twizelling and turning it.  My eyes popped as I saw what was coming out under the brush.   It looked like ribbons, and then earth striations or underwater things.  I bought a 2″ brush and the paintings got bigger. Not satisfied, I commissioned a carpenter friend to make me a 6″ brush and then a 12′ brush. I couldn’t stop.  The images fastinated and thrilled me.   For several years I piled the paintings in a corner until a gallery owner came for a sign consultation one day and spotted them.  He encouraged me to frame 8 of them and display them in his eclectic gallery in Great Barrington, MA.  They sold.

A bad loan, a ‘this must be the place’ boyfriend, stolen paper… the angels must have been laughing their heads off planning that one.  Other opportunities followed.  I now have several art agencies representing me.  My work is now in major hotels, cruise ships, condo complexes and other venues, all over the US and abroad.  In 2013,  I retired from sign life and moved to Sarasota Florida, where I play Pickleball,  practice my aerial yoga, paddleboard, and do some meditation and writing, and Argentine tango.  I continue, always, to work with my inks and other art forms.

MATERIALS AND COMMENTS
I use acrylic inks, coated paper and wide custom made brushes. A technique I developed over the years along with many a happy accident.
My artwork is an expression of my love of dance, of color, of formations in nature… things caught in the wind…
It’s a passion that continues to capture my imagination today.

GALLERIES
Debra Davis Fine Art, Hudson, NY
Kintaro Restaurant Gallery, Great Barrington, MA
Lydia Mongiardo Collection, Lenox, MA
The Barbara Moran Gallery, South Egremont, MA
The Tyringham Art Gallery, Tyringham, MA
Sam Kaston Gallery, Great Barrington, MA
Riverbank Gallery, West Stockbridge, MA

CLIENTS (placed thru agencies)
Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Ealing, London.
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Club Lounge, CA.
Waikiki Hilton Grand Hotel, HI,
Hotel Edgewater, Madison, WI.
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL
Vancouver Fairmont, Canada
St. Louis Chase State Park Plaza, MO.
Hilton Hotel Huntington Beach, CA.
JW Marriott Essex House Fitness Center, NYC
Metropolitan III propbery Condo complex, New Jersey
Hilton Chicago Grand Traditions Room.
Ritz Carlton Embassy Suites Destin.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Marriott Harbor Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Westin St. Francis, San Fran. CA