By Nina Kullmann.
A pioneer in the world of pop art, comic books, and the sports world, Gareb Shamus is the founder of the Wizard World and ToyFare empire, the owner of Comic Con festivals, and founder of the IFL which was broadcast on the Fox Networks. He is now pursuing his other passion in life as a contemporary artist. As the art world is on a constant quest for what’s new, Shamus has developed an original technique for his paintings that connects art with his audience. The creations exude vitality and positivity and portray his interpretation of life, casting a spell over everyone who is fortunate enough to view them in person. Resident Magazine visited Shamus at his West Chelsea gallery and wanted to know what inspires this enigmatic and successful entrepreneur turned artist and what is next on his agenda.
RM: Tell us about the inspiration and the mediums. How do you choose the mediums?
GS: I use acrylic paint and use individual drops of paint. All of my paintings have tens of thousands of drops on them. But, they are all very organized into really interesting patterns.
RM: What do you visualize first? The patterns? The colors?
GS: The technique that I have emanates out of my life. I had a very blessed life, a successful business, an amazing family and kids. I started Comic Con and I really helped bring superheroes to the forefront of pop culture and the media. But, because of that, people always wanted things from me, so I would keep people at a distance. When I came up with a technique for my paintings I wanted do something fun and engaging, and also allowed me to reach back out to people. That gave me the idea to have the paint extrude from the canvas. Once I developed that technique, each of my pieces tells a story.
RM: You have some paintings that are really abstract and you have some where you follow a specific pattern. What’s going through your mind when you’re doing each one?
GS: For me it starts with the story or the theme. In some cases I might say I want to fill my life with great people, great thoughts and great ideas, so I’ll make a white-on-white painting to create a pattern that shows growth. And then I think about what growth looks like, things that grow naturally, maybe trees. While talking about my subject and realizing it, it literally just comes to me. Once I’ve figured that out, I mix the colors and prepare the canvas. The work is very meditative for me. My phone is off, my computer is down and I put some great music on.
RM: What’s the next project you are working on?
GS: I’m getting ready for Scope New York which is one of the largest art fairs in Manhattan. The show works with some of the best artists in the world and also with top emerging artists. They do an amazing job. I’m also working on setting up shows on a global level from New York to Munich to Tokyo to London to Brussels and Switzerland. It’s going to be a pretty exciting year.
RM: Were there any other artists that inspired you?
GS: I have lots of artists they inspire me in terms of what I’d be able to do as an artist. I think that it’s inspiring to see the details, the techniques, the mediums and the craft. I am also inspired by how they get their art and their message out into the world. So much of what I do is about connecting, and using art as a way to connect people.