There are many paths. Most artists create because they must. Some are highly trained and some have a natural gift. Most are a combination of both and have an agenda in their development and creation of their art. They create to develop a profession or for an expression of their experiences and feelings. Most do it to present to others.
But then there is that unexplainable artist.. This artist creates with no agenda and knows no rules or proper and popular art culture. This group of artists are necessarily outside the lines without artistic training other than perhaps learning skills from a parent or relative or neighbor or just the culture that they live in. They are truly “doing their own thing”. They are sometimes called outsider, folk, brut, primitive or raw artists. They are often on the fringes of a society and not enmeshed. They just pick up something whether it is a stone, canvas or surf board and make something. Such is the only way to describe Shawn Statchel who will appear in a one man show at River’s Edge Gallery in downtown Wyandotte titled “Current Conditions”. The show opens on August 18th with a meet the artist reception at 7 to 11 pm. The show will run until September 10th.
Jeremy Hansen, the co-owner and gallery director stated:
I was first introduced to Shawn Statchel around 2005-2006. This unassuming young man came into River’s Edge Gallery with a backpack and a sort of solicitor disposition. He nonchalantly reached into his backpack and pulled out a seemingly hand carved, hand painted non specific type of wooden fish. I was very new to the art scene for I was an assistant to the machine that is River’s Edge Gallery which was composed of custom framing, interior design services and fine art prints with a mélange of local and regional artists and I was very non versed in the formalities of the professional gallery submission process. I was confused in his approach and probably stand offish which he may have read on his end.
The conversation was short, probably something like “ Hey do you like my fish?”. I probably responded “Dude … cool” or maybe I thought he was trying to get me to buy them or something… I declined and he left. All I know is that after our encounter I saw his wonderful sculptures down the street at the former Biddle Gallery. I spoke with the owner about his works and she had a similar encounter with him but she was able to see the beauty, honesty and importance of Shawn’s works. I somewhat lost touch with Shawn’s work and his progression as I was blindly focusing on River’s Edge Gallery without knowing that I would someday play a larger role as director and later co-owner.
It wasn’t until many years later that my search for local espresso shots led me to the hip local and short lived Tongue’s coffee shop where I was reintroduced to Shawn’s sculptures and paintings. Biddle Gallery had recently closed and Shawn had no local downriver venue to show. I encouraged Shawn to create work and to progress. We developed a friendship over coffee and cigarettes and multiple conversations about surfing and travelling and I believe we were able to come to an agreement about displaying at River’s Edge Gallery. I was familiar with the German fauvists and enjoyed the outsider inspired work of Jean Dubuffet but Shawn’s raw talent spoke to me. His narrative paintings depicting nature scenes, fantastic melded creatures, people engaging in outdoor activities from spear fishing to surfing and really whatever Shawn was doing or longing to do were honest, raw, colorful.