Updated: Apr 20, 2020
The thoughts that bounced around my head when I first stumbled upon Shawn Huckins' work now feel blasphemous. And though I never uttered such thoughts, my opinion has changed so much that I must express how wrong I was.
The front time I scrolled to a Huckins' painting on instagram it gave me a sour taste in my mouth. You see I thought that his works were just another case of someone attempting to make a name for themselves off of the work of others. Unfortunately, we see more and more of that now- a- days. The colors were so bold and vivid and the "edits/type" so crisp it felt digital. Viewing on the scree didn't help. I was getting a real buck the system, nothing is sacred vibe. Vandalizing famous works with mundane digital imagery. I was not happy.
Then it hit me. These aren't printed on canvas. These are painted. And everything changed.
Huckings' altered recreations, amplify the greatness of the works. Rather than detracting from the image, Shawn is building on another layer conversation. A back and forth across generations of people. A greater investigation into the duality of meaning to the audience of the original and the modern art viewer. Pressing low-brow images and references onto high brow, historical paintings. This is a conversation that I can't stop thinking about now. Thank you, Shawn.
The work is of impeccable technical quality. I personally have never seen an artist with such a handle on the medium. Now that may seem a little overstated, however we must take into account the fact that they are done in acrylic paint. To achieve that level of realism and blending, whether in plains of flesh or fabric. All of this when the work referenced were done in oil. To be able to translate those works to acrylic is incredible. The colors are deep. The blends are smooth. The edges are crisp. I am sorry.
Shawn Huckings is surely one of the artists I am most excited to watch in the coming years. I can't wait to see the conversations he invokes, the trends he represents, and the works he recreates.