Jim Shaw

Dream Object, foam, acrylic and wood panel


California-based artist Jim Shaw creates artwork that morphs a pop sensibility with uneasiness, resulting in images that are both arresting and disquieting.

Inspired by dreams he's had, Shaw's artworks are compelling in their melding of the familiar with the disturbing. His art plays with the viewer's pool of visual references — you know you've seen some of the clues he's giving you somewhere before, but know those images are tweaked.

Jim Shaw is what’s often referred to as an artist’s artist—not in the sense that he is forgotten by the market, but rather that his work and career have inspired countless younger practitioners.

This is due in part to Shaw’s sheer commitment to making work for the past three decades, but also more particularly to an insistence on retaining his idiosyncratic blend of personal, political, and Pop as he continues to mine his unique vein of imaginative, stream of consciousness inspired, and at times adolescent web of ideas, insights, and material explorations.

Throughout remains a way of thinking moored in the dialectical camps of restlessness and dreaming on the one hand and concrete precision on the other.


Dream Object (Heather), 2008, airbrush and pencil on paper, 80 x 52 7/8"



To most people dreams are private—too personal, scary, or weird to share—but not Jim Shaw.

In his publication Dreams, a monumental compendium of painstaking pencil drawings that bring his nocturnal dream world to life, the artist unflinchingly reveals his innermost fears, obsessions, and sexual fantasies. A diary-like picture book, Dreams is an in-depth look at one of the most important facets of this seminal artist’s work.