The Denver-based artist discusses juxtaposing the technological revolution with America’s Founding Fathers
Shawn Huckins was first introduced to painting after inheriting his grandmother’s painting set at a young age. As an adult, it’s taken a route through studies in architecture and film, plus a stint living on the other side of the world, for him to gravitate back towards art. Since graduating from Keene State with a major in Studio Arts, Huckins has taken inspiration from Pop artists such as Edward Rushca and preoccupied his work with a contemporary discourse on American culture. We hooked up with him to find about his most recent project, 'American Revolution Revolution'.
Essentially the main goal of the series is to explore the brief history of the United States comparing the political revolution of when the country was founded in the 1700s versus the technological revolution that’s been happening over the past decade
Dazed Digital: What is American Revolution Revolution?
Shawn Huckins: The 'American Revolution Revolution' is a series that combines 18th Century American portraiture with 21st Century lexicons, such as mobile phone texting acronyms, Facebook status updates, and Twitter postings. Essentially the main goal of the series is to explore the brief history of the United States comparing the political revolution of when the country was founded in the 1700s versus the technological revolution that’s been happening over the past decade.
Technology influences how much we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? It’s easy to idealise centuries-past life as simpler, more civil, more intelligent, and ironically, more ‘connected.’ We live in a very different time than our Founding Fathers did, and we would appear to place our priorities in very different places - what entertains ourselves versus what serves our society.
DD: You cite Edward Ruscha as one of your influences. Can you tell me what about his work inspires you?
Shawn Huckins: I first saw his work in my art history book in college and fell in love instantly. And it was strange because his work isn’t something I normally gravitate to. I was interested in photorealistic painting and my body of work around the end of college was geared toward photo representation; painting works such as ice creams shops, old barber shops, etc. But what struck me about his work was his interesting use of composition in regards to the text he was employing and the subject.
What I obtain from Ruscha is a sense of recording of my environment and language used currently, which from this series is the digital “LOL” speak language, that may seem like a foreign language at times, but is very dominate in today’s technology driven world.
DD: What do you do when you're not painting?
Shawn Huckins: I love being outdoors, whether it’s running or walking, hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains, or just sitting on my porch with a finely crafted beer people watching the folks below on the street.
DD: Your post right now? (in 140 characters)
Shawn Huckins: I need burnt umber real bad.
'American Revolution Revolution' is currently on show at L2Kontemporary, 990 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA, until August 18