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FEATURED ARTIST: Shane Watt

2010 April 21

Click here to Subscribe to this Blog by Email!I am very rarely surprised by artists.
It is not meant as an insult…

I often feel like I have witnessed every take on every media imaginable.  Cracked every nut.  But, of course, I haven’t.  And, I delight every time I am taken by surprise.

Shane WattShane Watt
is a delightful surprise.

Watt considers himself a  semi-fictional mapmaker.  He is self-taught and based in Montreal Quebec Canada inspired most by the drawing of his father.

Watt has been exhibiting his cartographic work over the past 4 years and producing commissions for the past 7 years.

Watt uses objects, numbers, real places and photographs to create city maps, which convey stories and insights into his own personal experience of a particular time and place. 

Many loyal readers know that I send a quiz, of sorts, to artists I want to feature, and the questions vary depending on my gut reaction to their work. 

In fairness, I usually answer the questions first baring my own truths and embarassments. 

Waites Rounde by Shane WattWhen I asked Watt about his artistic influences, he claimed his father as his biggest inspiration.  Sweet. 

Then once again, he delightfully surprised me.  As a second influence, Watt claims Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart).  Wow, I didn’t see that one coming.  On a humorous note, when Don Van Vliet was asked the same question, he answered “I just paint like I paint and that’s enough influence.”  Funny.

Click to see a larger version of Bloodshotville by Shane Watt!I won’t reveal the art he finds creepy, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out his favorite snack foods…yes, I do ask. I’m a nosey foodie, and it IS a food-themed art blog.

In his upcoming exhibit at Galarie Rye in Montreal, Watt will showcase a recent collection of works including a multi-dimensional map, which can be viewed from various perspectives revealing clues of an overall narrative and an interactive puzzle map.

Illustration by Shane WattI think most of us can accept map making as an art form, and a few of us always think of maps as art.  But in an age of GPS systems, only an artist would think of whimsical, semi-fictional maps as a specialty media.  How perfect.  I love a niche market. 

Even more–I love the idea of something being representational, but not. 

I appreciate Watt’s refusal to dumb down work to mere aesthetics but make it beautiful nonetheless.  I revel in Watt’s assumption of the best in all people–curiousity, determination and the yearning to understand.

Visit ShaneWatt.com!When asked if he includes puzzles and secrets in all of his work–even the commissions, he simply states, “The maps always contain at least four elements, the primary narrative, the muse, references to me and, of course, the secrets of the city. Whenever I create a commission I’m always very clear about the fact that the cities all inter-connect into the larger context of my fictitious country Loyala and need to have the four elements present….so far no one has really minded.”

Thank you Shane Watt

I look forward to searching out the hidden gems in my own life’s map very soon.

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9 Responses
  1. December 15, 2010

    This is my first time reading this article. This guy has some serious talent. I love maps so much, and these are done so well!

  2. karl permalink
    December 28, 2010

    Maps are all about spaces….and reshaped spaces….
    there is so much cultural input into theses!
    I think Shane chose a great media for his art!

  3. December 28, 2010

    Shane’s work is awesome. You’ve got to look at it up close and personal to get all the details. Everyone, check out his maps!

  4. J. B. Staniforth permalink
    December 28, 2010

    Over more than a decade, Shane has been making art that looks like no one else’s, and which is a pure expression of his literal view of the world– though refracted through whimsy, humour, and pathos, his work is a totally concrete map of one person’s imagination. Amazing stuff!

  5. Paul Alexandre permalink
    December 28, 2010

    I call these maps eye candy & so unique. They are fun for all ages.

  6. January 11, 2011

    Just got around to reading about Shane. I am in awe! Beautiful work, amazing creativity and imagination. I’m going to keep track of his work.

  7. Lisa Rentz permalink
    January 15, 2011

    Maps are such a good choice as a subject for an artist, such a clean and concrete way to relay info. And then there’s the whole cartoon quality to them, and sometimes they’re even foldable.

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