The 6th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series closed their season with the unveiling of Local Artist Shawn Warrens’ mural, The Moors. This massive art piece is on public permanent display at 7300 Melrose.
Shawn was named in the top 3 of the 6th annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan series competition during Art Basel Miami last December, in partnership with Russell Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation. As part of his prize, Shawn had the opportunity to work with Bombay Sapphire throughout the year to complete his art piece.
After the unveiling we trekked over to popular hotspot E.P. & L.P. for the Bombay sponsored cocktail after party, which featured 3 themed cocktails. The Moors (named after Shawn’s award winning piece) filled with Bombay Sapphire gin, apricot syrup and lemon juice (my favorite btw). The French 75, served in a champagne flute with Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and prosecco (a lot of other peoples favorite) and the G&T Reimagined, served in a goblet with Bombay Sapphire EAST Gin and tonic water.
You can’t have cocktails without delicious bites. The Asian themed tray pass complimented the three drinks and we were very happy participants.
Launched in 2010 by Russell & Danny Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation and Bombay Sapphire Gin, the annual Artisan Series program is a nationwide search for the next big name in visual arts, with a focus on undiscovered multicultural artists.
Check out what Shawn has to say about his work, what inspires him and what his future plans are.
K: What inspired you to paint, The Moors?
SW: The fact that their story isn’t as popular when discussing history. There’s a limited amount of history that’s taught in schools and unfortunately, the Moors isn’t a subject that’s covered. As a black man, I’m a huge proponent of knowing our history and ancestry. There’s more to our narrative than slavery and the civil rights movement. It’s important that we understand where and what we come from as a people. The Moors contributed much to western civilization and even brought Europe out of the dark ages.
K: How did you choose the model for the piece?
SW: I chose to use my friend Darius, who’s also from Chicago. Although we’ve only known each other for months, a brotherhood has quickly developed between us. He was intrigued by the subject of Moorish history and was more than willing to be the model for the piece.
K: Is this the first time you’ve painted such a massive mural? How long did it take?
SW: This is actually my 2nd mural painting, but it’s the first outdoor mural I’ve created and the first mural in Los Angeles. The project took 25 days altogether.
K: Where can people find more of your work?
SW: Primarily I use Instagram as a way of keeping people updated on current projects and shows. I can be found on IG @warrenart. My website is also in development.
K: Does another particular artist inspire you?
SW: Yes! Several artists come to mind. William Bouguereau is my all-time favorite painter. He was a true master of the human figure and usage of color. Jean Leon Gerome is another painter that inspired me to focus on the subject of Moorish history and Orientalism. As for present contemporary artists, I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the most brilliant painters alive: Robin Eley, Kent Twitchell, Graydon Parrish, David Kassan, Chris Cosnowski, Blanca Lopez, and numerous other painters.
K: What’s next for Shawn Warren?
SW: I’m currently preparing for my 3rd consecutive ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI. Afterwards, I plan to continue my studies as an MFA student at Laguna College of Art + Design, and to continue creating paintings that tell our stories as a people. I strongly believe that art is a great way to educate people and encourage them to learn more about the unknown history. Currently I am in a 2-person show at the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University-South Bend. Also, I will be featured in a show at Carnegie Center of Art & History in 2017.
K: Where do you see yourself in 5 years if things go as planned?
SW: I see myself as an MFA graduate, and hopefully, a professor in art with a great university. I also envision my work crossing into international territory and having successful shows. I would also love to give back to communities by developing art programs for youth that have talent in the arts, but don’t have the resources or support to pursue their passion. Lastly, I see myself being an advocate not only for the arts, but also for spreading accurate knowledge on the subject of black history.
This celebration marked the official kickoff to the 7th Annual Artisan Series. Emerging talent can submit their piece on BombayArtisan.com.