I always talk about Shawn Whisenant as the only true artist I know. The only one who hustles hard to remain an artist in San Francisco with no day job. The only one who answers to nobody and thrives, despite the everyday struggles of living on a shoestring. The only one who sleeps in the back rooms of galleries, makes new friends every day, turns a neighborhood walk into a photo essay, and makes beautiful things out of garbage. The epitome of a real artist, he made stunning work with stories literally sewn into every piece. He collected thousands of bus tickets and “wet paint” signs and turned them into art. Whatever he was doing—zines, photography, skating, sewing, painting, graff, signs, installations—he did it with passion and kindness.
He encouraged and hyped up his friends and their art, and brought them along anytime he was coming up. Paradise to Shawn was art supplies, coffee and a small space to work in. He lived life to the absolute fullest, with art at the center of his world, and he inspired me immensely. Shawn and my husband, Jeff Meadows, were tight friends and collaborators, and the pain of losing Shawn way too soon is as enormous as our love and admiration for the homie. He left this world doing exactly what he loved to do, and he was already a legend. —Kristin Farr, Juxtapoz contributing editor