Shawn Teseo Ballarin is an artist living in Lincoln, Nebraska. He received his BFA from the University of Nebraska and attended graduate school at Illinois State University. He works in a variety of media including painting, printmaking, video and bookmaking.
Ballarin has worked in two print shops, printing and exhibiting work at Chicago Print Collaborative in Chicago and at Constellation Studios in Lincoln. He has shown video in Minneapolis at the Northern Spark Festival, Circus Surreal in Chicago and Carver Bank in Omaha. He has completed a variety of private commissions, artist residencies and created album art that appeared in both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. Additionally, he has completed several murals, including one that spans 250 feet near Wrigley Field in Chicago.
His primary form of expression is painting, though elements of printmaking are incorporated in most of his work. He has shown his paintings across the country including in San Francisco, Madison, Wisconsin, and throughout Chicago including the Mexican American Art Center, the Happy Dog Gallery, Vintage Ground and the South-Side Hub of Production.
My paintings explore the themes of travel, isolation and change through simple, sometimes primal subject matter. The rhythmic use of pattern and expressive brushstrokes are intended to give the paintings a soothing, comforting quality that I hope reflects the human tendency to find peace or even beauty when faced with struggle or pain.
My process is a combination of painting and printmaking. Before I start painting, I spend hours meticulously cutting stencils, which I later print into the paintings, often in many layers. When I paint, I never start by making sketches. Rather, I paint in a loose manner allowing layering, accidents and surprises to occur as each painting develops.
I am interested in straddling the line between abstraction and representation. I hope the layers in my paintings, particularly the deepest ones that are often barely visible, inspire viewers to look carefully at the work and to reflect on what else might lie underneath.