TINY TALKS WITH SHANNON GARDNER

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Shannon Gardner from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Find her artwork, “Mother Monster,” “Nighttime Hue,” “A Joke to You,” and “Don’t Stop or We’ll Die” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Shannon: Watching horror movies and studying paranormal kindles my creativity. The spontaneous process of nature inspires me to explore Earth’s unfound beauty and imitate its natural imperfections. I enjoy creating art depicting paranormal elements and iconography. 

Ol Poogley-Pie, Collage, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Shannon: I am inspired by German Expressionism artists like: Edvard Munch, and Tim Burton. Surrealist artists like; Picasso and Claude Cahun. Expressionists like Egon Schiele and Contemporaries like Polka-Dot artist Yayoi Kusama. My process is similar to artists who encourage exploring the taboo and Surrealist/Psychic Automatism or the act of creating art disconnected from consciousness. My work focuses on exploring the unconscious mind as a way of creating art, resulting in innate, dream-like imagery.

The Arm, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Shannon: Supernatural entities continue to inspire my work, paranormal phenomenon. The surrealist unbridled reign to the consciousness is how I approach art making. I have an ambition to spend my life studying the occult and paranormal. I enjoy projects that involve a proactive and sustainable message. 

Siren Song, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Shannon: I enjoy line and dot work, stippling and cross-hatching, clusters of value implying crisp texture and depth, giving the illusion of change through time. My serendipitous approach to watercolor and ink creates a profound contrasting aura with my surrealist illustrations. Through my process, I attempt to disassociate my hand from my consciousness, work directly from instinct. As a result, I have found my best work is created when I’m not thinking.

I often draw on paper with an ink pen an interesting idea, inspire in the spur of the moment. I enjoy creating multiple line pieces over a relatively short period of time. The pieces sit unfinished until I find enough time where I can devote myself to paint all the pieces with watercolor. This makes a cohesive palette of color throughout multiple pieces. 

Mommy’s Girl, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Shannon: I usually paint when I work in my studio. I enjoy painting from a used palate, working off pigment from previous sessions to avoid wasting materials. I find working on paintings in the mornings while working on drawings at night yields the best results. I am currently working more in collage, assemblage, and sculpture. I have always worked in 2D with an emphasis on the outline, so when branching out to 3D I am enjoying playing with the minimalist relationship between figurative and abstract work.

I have much confidence in my work; as a result, I have been featured in dozens of publications worldwide. I understand that if you apply yourself the worst outcome is a formal rejection with appreciation of your submission. I have the ability to create a plethora of work in order to meet deadlines and ensure quality work.

David, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2020

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Shannon: I’m currently working with Collage-Lab where I’ll be teaching a workshop on how to incorporate hand-drawn illustrations and collage. There I will explain Surrealist Automatism and how to think of collage making as a spontaneous process. 

I am also involved with an online Zine called Continue The Voice. Released quarterly as a platform to share art and voices of all kinds. My original illustrations are featured throughout and exclusively on the Coorie Moments pages.

All-Star, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others? 

Shannon: A book that I’m currently into is called, Begone Satan: A Soul Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa, a 19th century exorcism of a woman local to where I am from. For inspiration I would suggest researching and finding books from your childhood that encouraged you to read as a child or that inspired you in any way. Revisiting those stories may help or unlock things that can benefit you in the future.

Optometrists, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond? 

Shannon: What I value most in my work is honesty and confidence. As an artist I strive not to be a perfectionist, I seek to make mistakes. Appreciating the process of nature, death, and decay I practice the Asian technique of Wabi Sabi; the aesthetic within imperfections. I strive to explore the unearthed beauty and imitate the natural imperfections. I live for crooked lines and brushstrokes. The human journey is not a straight line but a labyrinth of twists and turns, an imperfect spiral with one way in and out. Through my work I hope to embody those imperfections. My goal is to show the audience the importance of appreciating people, emotions, achievements and pain. I strive to evoke a haunted aura of remembrance that death and decay reflects the evident future of life. All parts of Earth’s cycle should be celebrated, not overlooked or forgotten.

Flower Child, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Shannon: You may purchase my work here

View my original artwork quarterly here

Sign up for my newsletter at UneasyViewing@gmail.com