By Artists For Artists

Shaun Berke: Honest Darkness and Raw Remedy

Sign of the Times

Shaun Berke, a USA-based artist, favours oil on linen to create enchantingly dark figures and portraits with an aura reminiscent of the Renaissance masters. His patient set of works includes paper installations, clay sculpture and digital illustration, that are “shaped by nature” that comment on the high standards of “the ancient world”. Perhaps he is creating suggestion that sheds light upon contrasting ideals, perspectives and values of changing times.

"The Gift and the Ghost" by Shaun Berke, oil on linen, 2013

“Building up and breaking down layers of paint necessitates a surface that can withstand a long, slow process.”

"Frejya" by Shaun Berke, oil on linen, 2017

Berke grew up in a household that hugely encouraged his artistic growth and expression, “we posted drawings all along the hallway, from floor to ceiling. I imagined landscapes, invented animals, and made up symbols.” Shaun’s artistic journey began in college, and evolved with his apprenticeships with talented artists across the world, giving him the ability to capture inspiration from a variety of sources.

"Odinn" by Shaun Berke, oil on linen

The artist uses unconventional methods to connect paint with canvas, stating that he admires “the effects that fingers and rags bring into oil paint.” His raw and kinesthetic approach to creating allows his pieces to maintain a raw, organic beauty. Interested in the human condition, Berke endeavors to “show the deep nature of our kind, to tell our oldest stories”, remaining thoroughly rooted in human value and folklore.

"Zarathustra" by Shaun Berke, oil on linen

Aiming to connect with all who pay attention, Shaun Berke hopes to “encourage those natural souls to endure, to overcome nihilism.” His works communicate an eye for the animalistic, seeking quality in all humans, comparing life as an artist in today’s world to “a bear foraging for something to eat, like a bird bound in garbage.” His gothic pieces may take us softly into the dark, but certainly, show us that light and meaning resides there, and it is worth looking for.

All images copyright of Shaun Berke

You can view more work by Shaun on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Kate Smith

Send this to a friend