I feel very fortunate that I have always been surrounding by creative friends…artists on so many levels. Fashionistas, painters, sculptures, ceramicists, tattoo artists, writers, drawers, street artists, filmmakers, hair stylists, actors and actresses, graphic designers, interior designers…the list goes on and on. I truly believe that inspiration flows and follows from one group to the next with common threads found throughout each outlet. Long have I been an avid fan and admirer of my friend Joe Shea’s artwork. I remember first seeing Joe’s puppet versions of the colorful members of Santa Barbara band, Blazing Haley, at an event and thinking, who is this cool mo-fo doing this?! They were instantly recognizable, detailed, unique and you wanted to see more from this talented pair of hands…. and mind.
I’m a huge fan of assemblage pieces. There is something about the interactive nature that is so fascinating to me. I have being doing assemblage work for sometime myself and since I was old enough to care, have loved the masters of assemblage - Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg being my first memories of exposure.
Joe and I worked at different times for Simple Shoes. He was there before me designing sneakers…. I came in later (he had then moved on to design for Diesel) to drive a 33’ Airstream across country for the brand – a whole different story completely – and in the office we would find traces and doodles leftover from Joe all over the place…. in old files, on random bulletin boards, etc. They were always happy and inspiring surprises.
Fast forward oh, 15 years, and J. Shea (aka #9) has stayed true to his craft and talent and continued to evolve his artwork. I get updated on his emailer of new works and shows he is doing and I always eagerly look to see if there is an attachment before even opening up the email…because I know if there is, I am in for some bad-ass visuals. The latest email from J. Shea had a plug for a show he is participating in Los Angeles.
This show is a Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition at Gallery Nucleus (opening TODAY); “a collection of work gathered through private invitations, open submissions and the common love for all things Harry Potter.” It features over 50 artists, and over 100 pieces of work.
Below are the insane pieces that J. Shea created for this show:
All photos above shot by Cooper Reid.
I asked #9 about the process for these pieces, as I hadn’t quite seen this activity before in his pieces.
For “thestral” J. Shea took a starting point - usually a found object - in this case it was a battered windshield wiper he found in the road on a bike ride – look closely, that is what his wings are made of. For the “wizard” and “soul taker” he took an organic object, a vine that grows all around his house, and ran it through from head to beard (wizard), or waist down(soul taker)…he says; “it was another resourceful use of more organic waste from my yard work...........you know me...........always finding forms in nature and in mans waste................”
J. Shea’s pieces are something to be seen in person – they are truly magical.
Here are a few pieces by J. Shea that we live with:
above the door....
#9's are the two on the right, on the left is a piece by Tanner Goldbeck (equally fantastic)
if you're ever in Portland, Oregon, GO to J. Shea and his partner Keiko's cafe and art house: LYRIK!
Soundtrack for this Boston born talent? How about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, one of my favorite boy bands hailing from Beantown: