The artist Shaun Daley has invented his own world, and he knows it. A self-taught artist, he has dubbed his style “Shaunism” as a statement that his work is not an academic exercise nor a movement by a group of artists, but a highly personal form of expression.
“If I wanted to look at a bowl of fruit, I’d get a bowl, go to the grocery store and take a picture myself,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I do not attach a title to any of my pieces, because I do not want anyone to have a preconceived notion about the subject or what was on my mind at the time of conception. Although each element – individually and as part of a whole – has a very specific personal meaning to me, I want everyone’s interpretation of my work to be his or her own. Everyone will have a different opinion of what each piece means; they will each see something different. That is part of the fun of viewing art.”
Original works on paper by Mr. Daley will be exhibited at the Hillsborough Public Library through April 30.
The colorful images, rendered in mixed media, depict a symbolic iconography that makes reference to meaningful experiences and people in Mr. Daley’s life, and offers glimpses at the artist’s innermost emotions and thoughts.
Born in 1969, he won an elementary school art competition at the age of 9, with his interpretation of Pinocchio, and won a two-dollar bill in fifth grade for designing and drawing the school’s mascot.
At age 15, Shaun landed his first job in the art field, at the now-defunct Dennis Art Gallery and Frame Shop. For the next 2 ½ years he began to learn about different artists and styles, as well as how to custom frame and preserve artwork. As an apprentice, Mr. Daley taught himself how to cut decorative mats in such a way that the framing was transformed into a work of art in itself.
In the years that followed, he continued to work as an art consultant and picture framer. Daley credits three of his former employers, Amy Holder, Steve Lucas and Bonnie Kerr, for recognizing his talent and passion for art and encouraging him to express his creativity through unique custom framing jobs.
In the process of working at the Short Hills Art Gallery, Mr. Daley developed a particular interest in surrealist and anti-realist works by artists such as Hans Bellmer, S Dalí, J.M Folon, F Hundertwasser, Wifredo Lam, André Massón, Picasso and Dietrich Schuchardt, among others, which began to influence him to create his own designs.
Having no academic training as an artist, Mr. Daley eventually mustered the courage to show his early drawings to the Short Hills Art Gallery. The sale of his first piece that year marked the beginning of Mr. Daley’s career as a professional artist, and served as the inspiration to let his creativity flourish.