Shawn Huckins is a Denver, Colorado-based painter who has brought humor into his work.
Huckins is most known for incorporating modern sayings from the internet onto early-American portraiture by asking the question, “What would George Washington post on Facebook? How would Lewis and Clark communicate their progress westward via Twitter?” He uses a variety of sayings from Twitter, Facebook, and texting acronyms. Huckins makes his work into a satire of social media while still holding onto the integrity of his hand-painted work. He has noted that even the letters that spell out the internet sayings are also hand-painted meticulously. The texts that he puts on his work are humorous and witty, such as “I’ve waited a long time to be disappointed by someone like u”, “Block me”, and “Twerkin like a boss”.
In his series ‘The American Revolution Revolution’ and ‘The American ___tier,’ he paints detailed portraits of narratives and well-known figures of history. His attention to detail is notable when looking closely at the faces he emulates that range from dark eye circles to bright rosy cheeks. He focuses greatly on the similarity to older versions of these portraits, seen in the detailing of the intricacy of the clothing and sceneries he paints. It is in these early-American portraits that he has questioned if this is what the Founding Fathers and early frontiers had imagined when they found American soil.
His most recent series “A Fool’s Errand” is a solo exhibition where he has continued to work on his unique style of art and plays more with incorporating physical objects into the overall piece. These objects include a physical head statue on top of the painting or a rope emerging from the canvas bringing more life to the portraits. In this project, he has still proposed the question of what helps society improve and what is its overall downfall. This most recent series was featured at K Contemporary art gallery in Denver, Colorado.