“When my art evokes an expression of pleasure and intrigue on a client’s face, it brings me great joy. I love t ohear their comments about the feelings and memories they experience from my art, especially when sharing laughter and a glass of wine with them.”
Shawn Mackey was born in Edmonton, Canada in 1984. Growing up in the long cold winters of Canada, he had many indoor hobbies. The one hobby Shawn loved most was drawing. His parents, who were both teachers, wouldbring home boxes of scrap paper for him to use. Some of his favorite subjects were Italian sports cars, architectural drawings, as well as a variety of superheroes and cartoon characters. Shawn once had his younger brother dress-up in a Batman costume to usehim as a model to sketch his favorite superhero.
Shawn’s talent was apparent at a young age. When he was eight, Shawn was selling drawings of sports cars to his classmates. As his passion for drawing and painting grew,it became a distraction at school. On a few occasions Shawn received lectures from teachers for setting up a “tattoo shop” in the school bathroom. Much to the relief of parents, Shawn only used colorful markers to tattoo his classmates.
After high school, Shawn put his artistic talents on hold to focus on university studies with a plan to become a lawyer. One year into the rigors of college life, filled with classes on politics and economics, essaywriting and class projects, Shawn longed for a change. He had a need to fulfill the creative passionthat burned inside him, so he enrolled in an art class during summer school. In the Fall, upon returning for a new school year, Shawn transferred into the university Fine Arts program. He said,“I considered entering the architectural design program, but I realized thatpainting was where my creativity could flow freely. My goal is to tell a story and invoke a deep emotional response with my art.” During the time spent earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Shawn began developinghis powerful and expressive style of painting, blending impressionism, abstract and renaissance techniques.
Shawn met his wife Jenn while working at an Italian restaurant. As Shawn tells it, “My wife and I applied forwork at different restaurants but, as fate would have it, we both ended upworking at the same one. I worked asmany hours as I could just to spend time with her.” In 2015, Shawn and Jennifer where married ona beach in the Bahamas, with a close group of friends and family.
After graduating from The University of Alberta with his BFA in 2007, Shawn decided to follow in his parent’s footsteps. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education and became an art teacher. It was during this time that Shawn had hisbiggest artistic growth. For ten years,he immersed himself in the work of the great Masters. From renaissance artists like daVinci and Michelangelo to impressionists like Monet and Renoir, he studied the nuances of their style and technique. Through this decade of study, teaching, research and practice, Shawn’s technique matured into his own unique style of painting that defines him today. His art can be found in fine art galleriesfrom Hawaii to London.
Today, Shawn and his lovely wife Jenn, along with their Siamese cat “Gossamer,” enjoy spending time with family and friends, while he pursues his life-long passion for painting. “When my art evokes an expression of pleasure and intrigue on a client’s face, it brings me great joy. I love t ohear their comments about the feelings and memories they experience from my art, especially when sharing laughter and a glass of wine with them.”
Like Norman Rockwell, Seuss personally created every rough sketch, preliminary drawing, final line drawing and finished work for each page of every project he illustrated. Despite the technical and budgetary limitations of color printing during the early and mid-twentieth century, Dr. Seuss the artist was meticulous about color selection. He created specially numbered color charts and elaborate color call-outs to precisely accomplish his vision for each book. Saturated reds and blues, for example, were carefully chosen for The Cat in the Hat to attract and maintain the visual attention of a six-year-old audience. By the time Seuss’s book career took off, sharp draftsman skills were evident in drawings. His ability to move a storyline ahead via illustrations filled with tension, movement and color became a hallmark component of his work, and the surreal images that unfolded over six decades became the catalyst for a humorous and inspired learning experience.
Artist Leo Rijn, the inaugural sculptor for the Dr. Seuss Tribute Collection I, was selected to launch this project due to his prized work with some of today’s top talent in the world of film, entertainment and the visual arts (including Tim Burton, Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg). Rijn has been identified as one of today’s brightest sculpting talents because of his ability to breathe life into the written word and successfully transform two-dimensional ideas into three-dimensional works of art. Universal Studios commissioned Leo to develop and oversee the creation of numerous maquette scale models for the Monumental Dr. Seuss Sculptures at Seuss Landing in Orlando, Florida. Leo was instrumental in the art direction for many of the sculpted characters and buildings now on display at this permanent Seuss attraction. His strikingly accurate Seuss works embody a masterful and intuitive Seussian sensibility, establishing him as a leading talent in interpretive sculpting.
Seuss embarked on an ingenious project in the early 1930s as he evolved from two-dimensional artworks to three-dimensional sculptures. What was most unusual for these mixed-media sculptures was the use of real animal parts including beaks, antlers and horns from deceased Forest Park Zoo animals where Seuss’s father was superintendent. Unorthodox Collection of Taxidermy was born in a cramped New York apartment and included a menagerie of inventive creatures with names like the “Two Horned Drouberhannis,” “Andulovian Grackler,” and “Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn.” Shortly after Seuss created this unique collection of artworks, Look Magazine dubbed Seuss “The World’s Most Eminent Authority on Unheard-Of Animals.” To this day, Seuss’s Unorthodox Collection of Taxidermy remains as some of the finest examples of his inventive and multi-dimensional creativity.
Illustrator by day, surrealist by night, Seuss created a body of irrepressible work that redefines this American icon as an iconographic American artist. Yet, the Secret Art often shows a side of the artist that most readers, familiar with him through his classic children’s books, have never seen. This collection, created over a period of more than 60 years, encompasses the entirety of Seuss’s multi-dimensional talent. The artistic golden thread highlighted throughout this collection is apparent in each wildly imaginative and surreal Secret Art image. The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss is an inimitable collection of artworks created at night for his own personal enjoyment. These works were rarely, if ever, exhibited during his lifetime and provide a deeper glimpse into the art and life of this celebrated American Icon.