Shanna Van Maurik’s rainbow-glo women remind us to let our particular brand of weirdness shine bright. This Toronto-based artist paints her portraits with such a particular palate and bite-me kind of vibe that we find ourselves magnetized to her work. Shanna has been drawing women since she was a little girl, and it’s a wonderful thing that she has allowed her characters to grow with her. Too often we abandon the creative tendencies we had as children. Thankfully, Shanna is an example of where it can lead if we are brave enough to follow.
Shanna works from images of girls she finds on the internet that strike her. She then renders them in her own view. She uses Instagram not only as an image bank for inspiration, but also as the most accessible platform to reach her audience. It is such a fascinating transfer of visuals. Instagram is a space in which people tend to be seen as they wish to be seen, perfected, and curated for an audience. Shanna takes these moments and bucks any concept of perfection, liquifies it into dripping neon imperfection that simply transcends all the bullshit.
In a recent interview with Lexiquette, Shanna was asked how she deals with being discouraged within her artistic process. Her answer is so simple, true, and brave. She said, “Honestly, It can’t all be smooth sailing, it’s a finicky process. A series of decisions and corrections. Honestly, I’ve been making art my whole life so I don’t even consider giving up as an option.” There is something so wise and refreshing in accepting the inevitability of the uphill, and yet knowing/ deciding that onwards is the only way. Shanna’s work is imbued with a true sense of a power, both in the women she paints and as the woman holding her brush. She is fearless and it seeps from the canvas and into us, her adoring audience.