Studio visit with AKIN artist Shanna Van Maurik

Posted by Stacie Ant, May 31, 2017
Shanna Van Maurik

One of our all time favorite Toronto artists is the pastel princess Shanna Van Maurik. She will be selling her work at the Drake lobby on June 1st as a part of our Akin + Pixel & Bristle pop ups. Shanna's work is as fun as her lipstick collection. Meet the dreamy artist behind the acid washed portraits as we visit her in her studio.

How would you describe your work?
I'm a figurative oil painter and portrait artist who focuses on women. My work explores themes of youth, nostalgia, and boredom.

Shanna Van Maurik

What inspires you and how do you come up with ideas?
Personal experience is my main inspiration. My own memories of youth, nights at the Silver Dollar, beers in the park, dreams, and Toronto wanderings. In my earlier work I would look through magazines to find references. I had a problem with how unrealistic the models were, and felt that they weren't representative of real women. Now, I find most of my subjects scrolling through Instagram. I'm inspired by my friends, party photos, and selfies. The more candid and unprofessional the photo is, the more I like it. I use source images as a jumping off point but 90% of the final product is from my imagination. I often use the same reference photos for portraiture multiple times over and the result is always different.

Shanna Van Maurik

What kind of work are you going to be bringing to the Drake this summer?
I'll be bringing some of my smaller work to the Drake like 4x4" oil paintings, prints of my larger works, and my 3x3" prints in vintage frames. I'll also have some more illustrative work including sticker packs, individually drawn and pressed buttons, and polymer clay lapel pins. Over the past few years, I've consciously moved towards making smaller work. My artistic practice got to the point where I was painting big and no one I knew could afford my paintings. Making smaller work and having prints as an option are a couple of ways to get art into the hands of some of those people who really want it and enjoy it. I would say my audience is about 85% female and between the ages of 18-35.

Shanna Van Maurik

What is it like being a part of Akin collective?
I worked from a home studio for years. It was great in some ways but in others I felt pretty cut off from the art community. When I decided to move into a shared studio environment I was nervous, but it ended up being one of the best decisions for me. I love the energy of being around artists, it's cool to see what others are creating. It's also nice to have a separation between home and the space where you make work. Having a rented studio space makes me want to be there all the time. Even if you go in and you don't make anything, you're still there. Presence is key, even just sitting in your studio looking at the work you've made, talking to studio buds, thinking about art, those things are all part of the process for me.


What are your art plans for the foreseeable future?
I'll be heading to Japan this summer so I'm pretty excited about that. I've been experimenting with watercolour because it's a bit easier to travel with than oils. I'm interested to see where that takes me. I know Japan probably has some awesome materials that we don't have access to here. I'm really influenced by street and music culture so I can't wait to check out the Japanese fashion and the people who live there. It's exciting to go traveling and experience another place and culture, it always has a way of influencing my work as well.


Meet the artist and shop the pop-up w/ Shanna on JUN 1 @ 6PM!

Shanna Van Maurik

Posted in: Art

Tags: akin  art  drake art  pop-ups  shanna van maurik  studio visit