Shannon Ingraham, Observing Magic

I visited Shannon Ingraham’s studio about a month ago. There has been so much going on, I suppose that it has been difficult to carve out time to post this studio visit. Then I looked at these pictures again and was really moved by the images and thought it might have been something else. I took these pictures with my old camera and it might be out of wanting to do justice to these beautiful paintings, that I delayed the post. I am posting it now, realizing that I am not a documentarian other than presenting a secret side of local artists that not many people see. It is not about the paintings, it is about the artist and the way and place where she makes work.

Click on each image to enlarge. Scroll below to read an interview with Shannon.

Obi: What is your relationship to Realism? When and how did you learn to paint animals so finely?
Shannon: I suppose, that I consider myself a Magical Realist. Magical Realism introduces elements of the fantastic into reality, without questioning logic. People are more likely to believe in the fantastic if it can fit in seamlessly within their perception and understanding of the world. As such, the ability to render is integral to this genre of painting. My technical skills thus far, have been achieved through years of practice and observation…and after an expanse of time painting in miniature, extreme tests of patience.

Obi: Where do these animals comes from? There is almost a Totemic power in each painting, right?
Shannon: There is something overwhelmingly powerful about animals. I am definitely someone who identifies with the feral and tameless qualities of wild things. Although I have a tendency to paint (what are generally considered to be) the beasts and scavengers of nature, I choose to paint them with integrity, beauty, and magic. In that light, yes, I suppose that they do represent some kind of personal symbology. Possibly, the idea that even the monstrous can be understood/seen by something other than their actions.

Obi: I see an almost ecological message implicit in your imagery. Is there a political dimension to your work?
Shannon: I don’t think I convey any direct political agenda within the context of my work. However, I do believe that my work places strong emphasis on the resplendent qualities of the natural world, as well as the possibilities of the imaginary. If anything, I can say that my work places importance on respectfulness, and understanding of nature.

You can possibly own Shannon’s work by subscribing to ART IN A BOX, where she is a participating artist.


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