profile of Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw’s career as an artist began in the early 1980′s cre­at­ing fly­ers for punk bands in Boston. By the mid 80′s he moved to Cal­i­for­nia where he attended Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege of Arts and Crafts, major­ing in both Print­mak­ing & Drawing. Alongside classical print techniques, Chris also learned the art of screen­print­ing from Malaquias Montoya. Shaw was soon hard at work cre­at­ing a mul­ti­tude of polit­i­cal posters aimed against the Rea­gan / Bush admin­is­tra­tions, as well as a smat­ter­ing of rock posters for local bands.

Shaw’s art first came into the pub­lic eye in the form of immense black-light murals painted in many of San Francisco’s night­clubs. By the early 90′s he was work­ing with Bill Gra­ham Presents in San Fran­cisco, cre­at­ing rock posters, and stage­sets for many of the 90′s biggest bands: Kiss, Pearl Jam, Cypress Hill, Hole, Foo Fight­ers, the Mighty Mighty Bos­stones, the All­man Bros., the Tibetan Free­dom Con­certs, the Horde Tours, and Lol­la­palooza amongst others.

By 2000, as large-format dig­i­tal print­ing became a cost-efficient alter­na­tive to hand-painted stage and con­cert art, Shaw made the leap and began cre­at­ing posters and fine-art paint­ings full time. He toured Europe exten­sively for sev­eral years show­ing posters and paint­ings in numer­ous venues, from muse­ums and gal­leries, to night­clubs and bars.

To date, Shaw has cre­ated thou­sands of rock posters and hun­dreds of paint­ings. His work is col­lected by both rock poster fans as well as art col­lec­tors. Shaw’s work has been fea­tured in sev­eral books, notably, The Art Of Mod­ern Rock. Shaw’s art­work has also been pub­lished in a numerous news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines both domes­ti­cally and abroad. Ger­man Rolling Stone mag­a­zine named Chris Shaw “Artist of the Year” in 2001. Shaw’s posters were also fea­tured in the 2009 doc­u­men­tary film “Amer­i­can Arti­fact“.

Alongside paint­ing and his own poster designs, for the last several years Shaw has also art direct­ed the band Moon­al­ice. Shaw has cre­ated a series of over 1200 posters for the band and reg­u­larly works with many of the best poster artists from the 60′s as well as today’s top artists. Seven books of Shaw’s work with Moon­al­ice have been pro­duced, “The Moon­al­ice Leg­ends”.

Shaw’’s imagery continues to pro­voke the viewer with intense color and sub­ject mat­ter. Shaw’s artwork clearly exists in the modern world yet his use of geom­e­try and icono­graphic formulas ref­er­ence distinct clas­si­cal influ­ences. Often pre­car­i­ously bal­anc­ing pop-cul­ture or political themes with deeply sym­bolic imagery, Shaw cre­ates unique and stun­ning artwork that stands apart in todays image-cluttered world. Shaw has had 2 shows his paintings in the SF/Bay Area with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist’s Gallery (2011 & 2013), as well as appearing at Varnish Fine Art (2012).

Shaw currently paints and designs posters from his studio in West Oakland, California where he’s been happily entrenched for almost 30 years.


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