Shawn Barber Analysis of His Works

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Art essay Shawn Barber’s body of work focuses primarily on painting, portraiture and documenting contemporary tattoo culture. Barber creates intimate renditions of tattooed individuals offering a balance of meandering lines, loose brush strokes and paint dripping. A lot of his works are abstract in nature featuring bold or shocking colours. I am particularly interested in his works as I have been concentrating on both dolls and portraiture in my sketchbook, both of which Barber focus‘s on in his collections ‘The Doll Series‘ and ‘Tattooed Portraits‘. I find tattoos in particular largely fascinating and the way Barber paints his portraits of tattooed models instead of the average model makes his portraits that much more intriguing to study. One of Barbers portraits that I find particularly notable is his head study of Artist Jeff Rassier. Barber captures expression magnificently and although his brush strokes are unruly and thick it appears unbelievably lifelike. This is something I wish to enhance in my own portrait work more and work on being able to encompass more expression in to my pieces. Barber also has a passion for painting dolls in eerie surrounding, such as his 18”x18” Oil on canvas ’Headstrong’ which features a dolls head being held menacingly by some human hands. I have always had a love for dolls and would play with Barbie’s and various other dolls when I was younger, to me, dolls were associated with feelings of happiness and having fun. As a result, the way Barber has turned this innocent perception of dolls on its head and presented them instead as nightmarish objects is extremely quirky and unique which again I find inspirational and different to many other artists I have come across. Initially Shawn Barbers ‘Headstrong’ depicts a dolls head being encapsulated by some hands which are eerily clasped around it. The piece, painted in oil paints,

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