Michael Shapcott is a traditional mixed-media based artist and portraitist from Central Connecticut. Before switching his major he studied illustration for two years, and ended up graduating in 2007 with a diploma in Fine Arts from the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut. This varied background helped form the basis for his trademark combination of illustrative line art and emotive paints, resulting in his imposing and fantastic pieces that border on surreal.
As he works with both oils and acrylics in his pieces Shapcott uses canvas or wood for the basis of his art. Unlike paper, these materials allow for easier corrections later on – something important to consider when you’re as experimental with your painting process as he is. After laying down his primer and chosen starter colour, he sketches his pieces with graphite or carbon, a process which he admits can take a long time until he’s satisfied. Once he’s used a clear coating over his lines to prevent smudging, preparations are complete and he begins painting, layering oil over acrylic to achieve his washed, surreal colours and fantastic imagery.
“Painting has always been experimental or intuitive with me and so I never know what I’m doing when it comes time to add colour. I just do what feels right.”
Though educated in artistry techniques, Shapcott believes that only in breaking past these boundaries has he been able to come into his own particular style and voice. This isn’t so much an opinion as it is an iron fact. Expounding on a technical foundation is only half the journey to becoming a real artist and it is a lesson that all professional artists must learn, and yet it is something that cannot be taught or expressed within formal education. It can only be self-taught. It is a lesson that takes dedication and vigour to learn.
It is only when an artist throws away caution and steps forward into their chosen style without fear that they begin to truly express themselves through their works. That they can truly, and successfully, communicate the love of their profession with enthusiasm.
“Being a full-time artist is about doing what you love every day, expressing yourself, touching others lives with your art, and making a unique mark on the world – but it is not for the light-hearted.”
It is this enthusiasm that speaks volumes from Shapcott’s brushes, filling his works with spontaneity and freedom. His lack of restraint in tearing apart the box of methods he collected during his college years have resulted in a vivid and emotionally charged morass which bleeds into a plethora of colours onto a canvas that threatens to reach out and grasp the viewer.