What He Does: I suppose it's possible to need another reason to go visit the retro game store Game Over. You know, if the whole "it's like walking through every happy moment I had as a child at once" thing wasn't a good enough excuse. Well here's another incentive, the walls are to host the video game-inspired art of Shawn Swanner. His garish, pop art is eye-catching and fantastic, which is probably why Game Over wanted it in the first place.
Swanner has been an artist since before he can remember. His mother was also an artist, and fostered the habit in her son at every opportunity. He's almost entirely self-taught, but you can't argue with the results.
Why He Likes It: "I like being able to tell stories through imagery. I find it fascinating. I like being able to create an image in my head and bring it to the physical world. Art is the most sincere form of magic."
What Inspires Him: As you can probably guess from the video game subject matter, those are a big influence. However, it's not the gaming, but the fantastic elements that are his real muse. In his spare time Swanner also pens science fiction short stories. The pieces that he creates to accompany these are among his favorite work, and he feels like they invoke the best of his abilities.
If Not This, Then What: "My focus would simply move to another form of art. When people ask me what medium I work with, I tell them what ever you put in front of me. I love to work in many different arts and forms. I mean, I couldn't imagine a life without art."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
If Not Here, Then Where: Swanner isn't particularly in a hurry to get anywhere else. He'd like to try his hand at Austin or Los Angeles, but he's not entirely sure that they'll live up to the hype. He's also keen to travel outside the country to get a more foreign look at his work. Japan is on the top of his list.
What's Next: In late August Austin hosts Classic Game Fest, which is basically a Game Over store on steroids. It's a brilliant good time for gamer geeks, and artists like Swanner are most welcome. He'll be there with some of his creations this summer. Again, as if you needed another reason to experience the joys of classic gaming.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer