Shawn Dooley: Artist & Designer

Shawn Dooley is a resident of Aurora, Illinois and his artwork includes a variety of art forms including paintings, sculpture, digital design, jewelry, apparel, and mixed media pieces.  As a self-taught artist, Shawn has spent his life exploring different mediums to develop his skills. Shawn’s work has been featured in local art events and horror conventions including: Pancakes and Booze (Chicago), Flashback Weekend (Rosemont), Days of the Dead (Schaumburg), Bad Ass Art Show (various Chicago Suburban Locations), ArtBar (Aurora), and Alley Art Festival (Aurora).


From an early age, Shawn drew monsters.  He has always held a fascination for science fiction, horror, and fantasy art.  He and his father would watch classic science fiction and horror films.  The influence of these classic movies sparked his creative imagination allowing him to escape through pencil and paper into a world of fantastic creatures and surreal landscapes.  As he got older, he found that he was drawn to modern surrealists including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and contemporary artists like H.R. Giger.  Shawn also found great inspiration from comic book artists such as Dave McKean, Ralph Steadman, Wayne Barlow and Bernie Wrightson.  Until his twenties, Shawn focused primarily on drawing.  “The pencil wasn't anything fancy, just your standard No. 2, and I didn't have a proper sketch pad until I was an adult. I then discovered digital graphics and photography. My computer and software were primitive by today’s standards, but I was still excited about how much more was possible.”   


Shawn then developed his skills as a digital artist and photographer as a freelance designer and through personal projects.  He explored new artistic mediums and discovered his interest in sculpture.  He explained, “I loved the idea of taking an concept and making it into a three-dimensional object. It started out as an interest in special makeup effects, but then I discovered that I just love making art.”  Shawn learned how to make molds and casts of his three-dimensional skull and creature designs.  He learned to produce multiple pieces from a single design and decided to make them available for purchase.   By 1997, Shawn created The Grue Gallery as a brand to showcase and sell his creature and skull sculptures at The Monster Bash Horror Convention in Pennsylvania. He continued to develop and sell his sculptures at conventions, markets, and online in the years following.  In 2012, he decided to get back into creating more traditional art.  He revisited his love for sketching and expanded his offerings into mediums such as acrylic paints, watercolors, pastels and nontraditional canvases.  


Shawn’s style continues to evolve.  His artwork showcases his love for surreal art, a heavy mix of comic book and science fiction influences, and his practical study and experience in digital photography, design, and traditional art.


“Looking back, I feel better about my art than I did 18 years ago, and I’m still trying new things.  Ultimately, I just want to try to create cool art that makes me happy. “

© 2020 Art by Shawn Dooley

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