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Shawn Conn

From a very young age Shawn knew that he was going to be an artist all of his life. He spent countless hours drawing imaginary creatures and the worlds they inhabited. While attending the Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in both painting and illustration, Shawn was challenged to push the boundaries of his understanding of what constitutes art.


After serving in the Army, ​Shawn embarked on an almost 30 year career as a successful tattoo artist, becoming known for his fine art style of tattooing. He's also maintained a busy freelance illustration gig with clients such as, Cutting Edge, Varese Sarabande, Warner Brothers and Topps. 

Through all of his years, he never lost his love of painting. He participated in numerous group shows from 2006 to 2013, exhibiting from California to Thailand. In 2017, after taking a mind clearing hiatus, Shawn decided to focus full time on his painting career and fulfill a dream that began in those imaginary worlds of his youth. His work hangs in numerous private collections.

Shawn lives and works in Rochester, NY as a full time painter and tattooist, with his wife, 2 of their 5 children and their dog, Ginger.


Artist's Statement

"The Universe was looking for artists, so here I am."

I'm obsessed with texture and the interplay of color and light, created when applied over the textures. Especially as it relates to decay. I am fascinated by the decay of old signs and surfaces that have been painted over multiple times and the layers of time begin to reveal themselves with the passage of time and wear. My technique is almost abusive, as I go through the process of adding and subtracting layers, creating then destroying, and then re-creating my subject for a particular painting. Whether my subject be wildlife, a portrait, or a straight abstraction my impetus for creating remains the same. To show the degenerative nature of the passage of time and its indifference to anything that it affects.

Music is an integral part, in the creation of my art, invoking a particular emotional state as I go through my creative process from start to finish. Music can be the gateway to our innermost emotions and most authentic selves. I listen to everything from dark ambient to alternative pop, classic rock to classical and trance to bluegrass. Music helps me to feel more connected to a particular painting. Moving me inside and outside, as an artwork begins to emerge from the ordered chaos that is my creative process.

Solo Exhibitions


-December Featured Artist, Mendon 64, Mendon, NY

-Windows Into Darkness, Whitman Works Co., Rochester, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions


Magic & Mayhem, Whitman Works Co., Rochester, NY


-Solstice: Studies in Light & Dark, Whitman Works Co., Rochester, NY

-Fairy Tales, Milkcrate Space, Hanover, MD


-In the Realm of Dreams and Fear, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY


-Here Be Monsters, Space Gallery, San Francisco, CA
-The 40 oz Show, MF Gallery, New York, NY


-Level 13: Video Game Art, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN


-6x6x2009, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY
-Art Awake, Pixley Warehouse, Rochester, NY 
-Superheroes & Supervillains, Look At This Gallery, Chang Mai, Thailand


-Art Awake, Studio 55, Rochester, NY
-6x6x2008, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY
-Freedom & Resident Artists IV, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN
-Monster Mash-up, Club Pearl, Rochester, NY


-The Board Show, Space Gallery, San Francisco, CA
-Resident Artist's Show, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN
-CPopportunity!, CPop Gallery, Detroit, MI
-Dirty Little Secrets, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN
-Forbidden Art: Finance of Expression, Copenhagen, Denmark
-The Last Gasp, Washington School of Photography, Bethesda, MD


-The Guerrilla Art Show, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN
-The Dirty Show, Detroit, MI
-Dia De Los Meurtos, AKA Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK
-A Carnivorous Delight, Gallery Noir, Los Angeles, CA
-The Art of Horror, Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, MN
-International Art Money, Permanent Collection, Denmark
- The Sugar Coated Show, The Pop Shop, Lakewood, OH
-The Last Big Thing, Baltimore, MD