Shawn Barber's body of work focuses primarily on painting, portraiture, and documenting contemporary tattoo culture. Barber’s intimate renditions of tattooed individuals balance both meticulous brush strokes and loose energy. Figurative in nature, these large paintings take on abstractions with explosive colors, meandering lines and paint dripping down the canvas. In 'The Tattooed Portraits Series', Shawn has created an homage and study of modern tattooing through painting portraits of historical tattooists and artists, tattooist's at work, their tools and environments. Documentation through present day genre painting, Shawn has captured tattooing from a personal perspective, as a tattooist and painter, reflecting this experience with respect and admiration for the history of tattooing and the individuals that define it’s rich past.
Shawn earned his B.F.A from Ringling College of Art in 1999 and A.A.S. from Cazenovia College in 1997. His paintings are held in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia. His paintings have been exhibited in diverse solo and group venues including: Somerset House Museum, London, UK; Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Halle Saint Pierre Museum, Paris; Pinnacles Gallery, Queensland, Australia; Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Mesa, AZ; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA; Artspace, Shreveport, LA; Joshua Liner Gallery, NYC, NY; Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale, IL; and the University of Houston, Houston, TX.
Among his extensive achievements, he has taught drawing, painting and the business of art for 16 years at various art schools throughout the country. After years of documenting the art of tattoo, it was a logical progression to pick up the tattoo machine and add tattooist to his resume.
In 2009, Shawn and his girlfriend Kim Saigh, opened Memoir Tattoo in Los Angeles, CA. His most recent fine art book, 'Memoir : The Tattooed Portraits Series' a 256 page hardcover visual tome, published by Last Gasp Books, was released in July 2012.
Shawn's signature brushwork has appeared in advertising, music, magazines, children's books, corporate, entertainment and newspapers. Particularly recognized for his portrait work, he has been honored by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, RSVP, and The Artist's Magazine among others. Articles and reviews of his work have appeared in ArtNews, Juxtapoz Magazine, The Artist's Magazine, International Tattoo Magazine, Tattoo Artist Magazine, and SF Weekly. His work has been featured in Taschen Books' "Illustration Now" and "1000 Best Web Portfolios", Harper Collins' "The Big Book of Illustration Ideas", Mark Murphy's "Dialogue Book", Schiffer Publishing's "I Love Tattoos", and Outre Gallery Press' "Tattoo Parlour".
Commercial clients include: Nike, Target, Verizon T-Mobile, Gatorade, Atlantic Records, T.E.D. Conference, Subway, Maxim, Scholastic Books, Elektra Records, American Airlines, Converse, The Grammy Awards, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone magazine, Stance, Psychology Today, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, The Progressive, NYU School of Law, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Utne Reader, The Source, Bulleit, The Washington Post, MTV Networks, Saks Fifth Ave, TBWA, Yoga Journal, Woodward West / Woodward East, Tres Records / Johnson and Jonson, space150, Creature Skateboards, Nitro Snowboards, Rockstar Energy, The Village Voice and the Wall Street Journal.