Creating an array of minimalist compositions which are essentially an outcome of ‘embroidering postcards’, Shaun Kardinal shows how art can transcend boundaries just with a little bit of originality.
Artistry strikes the first note in the mixed media work of Seattle based artist Shaun Kardinal. His creations are composed of a novel combination: vintage postcard-like photographs and geometric embroidery.
Say the word ‘embroidery’ and out of the several images your mind conjures up, it is least likely to imagine how Shaun Kardinal chooses to use it. Employing a winning combination of elbow grease and inspired thinking, the artist creates stunning wall-art that is not only pleasing to behold but something that compels you to gaze at it rooted at the spot it is placed in.
About his innermost thoughts, this is what he expresses, “I enjoy creating, curating and contemplating visual arts, music and websites, when I’m not obsessing over long-format television shows and books. I like to create. But, of course, you know it’s more than that. I am constantly inspired by, frustrated with, raving about, and occasionally crushed by the work around me. I cannot see enough of it. I must always hear more of it, even when I have totally worn myself out of it.”
Shaun is obviously unhappy with what he sees around him and in his quest to present something that is from an uncharted territory, the creative force within him leads him to take beautiful pictures of both man-made properties and pristine nature and add points of foci with something as mundane as embroidery. His perfectly engineered touches with thread on the image raises it to a new height giving rise to a genre that is probably the least celebrated so far.
Once Shaun picked up a set of vintage mini postcards (Souvenir Views – World’s Greatest Bridges: San Francisco by Stanley A. Piltz Company) while visiting San Francisco. It was an interesting challenge for him to work with such a small surface area, and a lot of fun–especially after the prior series of bigger and much more elaborately planned out pieces. So many amazing new projects have been added to his already envy-worthy portfolio since then.
Shaun, who is essentially an American artist who especially likes to express himself through collages, artful combinations of photographs and hand embroidery has been fascinated by ‘Mandalas’ for the longest time. Mandala is basically a Sanskrit word which means a “circle.” In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions, sacred art often takes the form of a Mandala. These are essentially concentric diagrams and have a certain spiritual and ritual significance in both the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Shaun is often seen to enhance his art with these radial compositions.
Once commissioned by Australia’s Yen magazine, he was asked to illustrate a favourite destination for their travel issue. He chose Montana and created a piece in the predominant style of his latest series, Connotations.
Known to delve into varied areas for his inspiration he once created an entire series based on the beautiful pages of the 1950s LIFE magazines.
Shaun’s art hints at a process of progression, a transition from the familiar to an inspirational unfamiliar, leading to the creation of something visually very successful.
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs By Shaun Kardinal