I collect shells and rocks…always have. My favorite is the Nautilus Shell which I have painted and drawn many times in my public and commissioned works.
I’ve always enjoyed being physically by the water, and, close to earth…it just feels right to me. My fantasy life would be to live as a stingray. To live, either gliding through the water like I’m flying, or to cover myself in the sand and silt for a nice meditative nap (and of course wait for my next meal haha). Beyond that, I have always enjoyed looking at underwater sea life and its beauty, so in 2009 when i set out to become the premier chalk artist on the shore of Chicago’s gorgeous Lakefront, there was one place I intended to ultimately work with… you guessed it: the John G. Shedd Aquarium. And believe you me: it’s been quite a journey.
At first, I did the obvious – email and call to introduce myself and hopefully catch a lucky break. I guess I had hoped the idea of chalk art at Shedd would be enough for someone to just say: “WOW, Shaun! No one has ever thought of that before!! You’re hired!” hahaha well, obviously everyone thinks of these ideas and (surprise!) I’m not as industrious, and unique, as I thought. Next: I attended Shedd events and at times just wandered in and handed a card to someone, but, then, I got a bit more determined and began to ask questions about who books events at Shedd and what kind of events are held there. In 2013, after some trial and error, I had a face to face with a wonderful lady who promised to keep my card and consider me for future events. The fact is, I wasn’t too confident leaving there that day, that she would. I kept hope, but i know even if intentions are good, it sometimes just gets lost in the busyness. After all, everyone wants their idea to be the one that makes the cut… and in a city this big, it’s tough to get your shot.
Meanwhile I’ve had several pieces featured at the Museum Of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, John Hancock Place, North Beach, Parades and Races, Lollapalooza (unofficially – long story) up and down Michigan Ave and State Street, Millennium and Grant Park, Major Hotels etc… and become somewhat of a regular at McCormick Place Events and Expos. That’s not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of events all over Chicagoland, the US and International events.
But, Alas, no invitation to my beloved Shedd Aquarium. I began to feel like the creepy guy with a secret crush and too many awkward attempts at conversation.
I don’t know if that meeting and my card was the catalyst or not, but something has finally broken the ice.
In early 2017, the day came that John G. Shedd was actually looking for a chalk artist! YAYA! I wasn’t going to let this one slip by. I told them in no uncertain terms “I want this job”. I repeated that in my emails (which there have been too many to count).
I hope to make an announcement very soon regarding this. Until then, enjoy this picture(s) of (a) Jellyfish I took while at Shedd a couple years back, which I will soon render in chalk for one randomly selected, super lucky fan who likes and comments on any page this is shared on. Who knows… I may choose more than one??? Lets make 2017 amazing!
I will post the finished chalk art as an update to this post
once it is done.