Artist Shawn Perkins


By Taroue Brooks

How did you begin painting?

I began painting after realizing that it was my true passion. Every other job I had felt like work that I didn’t enjoy. At the time I was waiting tables, but when I really got serious about my art, I would paint as soon I would get home from work.

When did you realize that you could earn a living being an artist?

I realized that I could earn a living being an artist after figuring out that if I keep creating, I’m essentially just surrounding myself with unique assets. Even if it’s a small painting it still has value. So as long as I never stop making art, I should always be able to provide for myself and ultimately others close to me.

What inspires you to paint?I

find inspiration to paint tied to a couple different factors; at the end of the day I love to paint. I could spend hours in front of canvas and it feels like five minutes. The one thing that truly drives me is a personal aspiration to be considered among the greatest artists of all time. I want my art to be worldwide, and for that to come to fruition inspiration is always there.

What difference have you seen in your work in the past five years?

In the last five years, I have seen a couple things different about my work; definitely growth in range of execution. I’ve been doing a lot more murals lately, which require several steps of planning that differ from painting a smaller canvas. Also, in the beginning, I was desperately searching to find my “style” which is probably a learning curve for most artists. Now, I just go with the flow. My style is every style.

What type of things do you enjoy painting most and why?

The things I enjoy most about painting is the fact that when working on an original work, I have no boundaries. Anything from he size of the work to subject matter are completely wide open. I can literally paint anything that I can think of, and that excites me.

What inspired you to paint social justice issues?

Social justice is always a big issue for me, especially as a man of color. Everybody has their way of voicing their opinion on issues that are present here in our country. Expressing myself and my opinions through painting is the best way for me to give my perspective. Unlike words which are very clear and concise, a work of art could be interpreted differently depending on who is looking at it, so this in itself continues the conversation and also invites others to introduce their own input.

What has been your most proud art project and why?

My most proud art project to date would probably be the first large-scale mural I completed a few years ago, during the summer for Takoma Academy, a high school here in the DC metropolitan area. This mural taught me a lot of patience as to dealing with the elements of working outside, as well as setting up scaffolding to complete such a big space. It was a grueling two weeks of hard labor, but after that I knew I could paint anything.

What can people expect from your work in the future?

People can expect my work in the future to be bigger and better than ever. After 5 years in the art game, I’m starting to hone in on the ways I want to create and content that fulfills myself as an artist. Expect big things, both literally and figuratively. I’m looking to end this year strong in Miami at Art Basel, where I’ll be showing with Spectrum Gallery.

Where can people purchase your art?

People can purchase my art online through my website (, via email ( or Instagram (@sptheplug). I also showcase work to be purchased at various exhibitions and shows, which I will always have posted on all social media and business website.

Warm as the Sun Dipped in Black by Shawn Perkins