Shawn Coss is a professional artists who currently produces art for the web comic and animated shorts of Cyanide and Happiness as well as selling his own original work, including a clothing line. He has been working professionally as an artist for around seven years however with all careers born of passion, he has been creating at all stages of life. The focus of this review is on his artwork, primarily his freelance work as it depicts his style and technique more vividly than his work for Cyanide and Happiness.
As a blanket statement his art style is quite dark and free, not limited by the medium of creation, some works painted on canvas, some inked on paper, some black and white pencil works and some digital renditions. In each instance, regardless of the medium the overall style and quality of technique displayed remain constant. The majority of the depicted content is skeletal or demonic of nature, complimented and brought to life with impressive command over form and tone. More often than not, colour is only used to accentuate and highlight other areas of the artwork. The general greyscale palate does not hinder the aesthetic goals of the work however, merely accentuates the defined form of the artwork.
In all of Shawn’s work there is featured a dark variant of some creature or a form born of darkness itself. Contrary to the conclusions that may be drawn on first glance I feel like this is both intended and appropriate. Intended as it is the natural style that prominently features in his work and appropriate as it conveys a message that regardless of subject there is always an unseen darker side. It is refreshing to see an artist tackle such concepts in regularity without prejudice and without adhering to social restrictions or conforming to the current popular culture. The integrity of the content created is both inspiring and to be respected. This artistic integrity draws a niche and dedicated population to the ranks of his fans.
As artists it is a worthy goal to aspire to perfect our creations, however at the point when you feel your work is perfect it stops getting better. So considering that perfection is in essence unattainable, than the next best thing is to be true to yourself and to develop a recognisable aesthetic, which as an artist, Shawn has managed to do. Overall I feel that with his constantly improving technique, development and evolution of his style and all whilst upholding his creative integrity his art can be considered the product of a great artist and is then inherently itself great. As a concluding point I feel it necessary to express that although not all of his work is crisp and clean, the raw presentation is in itself a pure quality of the work, it is part of the rich and appealing aesthetic that remains a trait of his chosen content and style. Overall, considering all things, I feel that the art of Shawn Coss is true to his style, aesthetically appealing and commands respect both visually and technically.
A review by James Day