Friday, July 16, 2010

Artist Profile: Thomas Shahan Bugs Out

Author: Erin Kozakiewicz, OVAC Intern
Untitled - Serigraph on Paper, 2009 
Bugs and boys go hand in hand. Art and eccentricity go hand in hand. Mix all four together and you get Thomas Shahan, bug portraiteur extraordinaire.

Though the majority of his work consists of photographing insects and arthropods, he continues to create art in a variety of mediums. I first encountered Shahan when he and his work were featured on the Today Show in October of 2009.  He is a student in the fine arts program at the University of Oklahoma and his work has been featured in a number of publications including Popular Photography, Popular Science, Discover Magazine, Nature’s Best Photography, Better Photography, and Weekly Reader
Female Tabanus Horse Fly, Photograph
“I’ve had a lifelong appreciation for animals…I’m attracted to arthropods for countless reasons – but the primary appeal…is the immense variety and beauty to be found in relatively common bugs and spiders,” explained Shahan.

“I’m attempting to not only publicize the extraordinary beauty present in arthropods, but also change the general mindset towards them. They’ve have been around much longer than we have, and are certainly much more beneficial,” he added.
MystaceusSerigraph on Paper, 2009  
I am intrigued particularly by his portrait of a nun holding a bug and ask him about it. He replied, “I’m sorry, but there may be no justifiable explanation for that one--I dream of women and spiders so I guess it’s apparent in my artwork.” 

Shahan’s work can be found on the following sites: or .