Found below is a collection of exceptional charcoal portraits and close-up by Shannon Washburn, a Lewis University student that we’re excited to feature here. We’ve included Washburn’s bio, reflection, and eight unique pieces in this post. See for yourself the dedication and artistry of this talented individual.
Shannon Washburn’s Bio:
Shannon Washburn, currently a senior at Lewis University, is pursuing a career in art therapy, a specialization within the realm of counseling. Double majoring in both General Studio Art and Psychology, alongside a minor in Spanish Language and Culture, she has a background identifying and interpreting human expression outside of the studio.
Washburn has gained experience working and/or volunteering at several organizations serving a variety of populations, including children, teens, and adults with various intellectual and developmental disabilities, in addition to older adults diagnosed with dementia.
My passion for art has always remained something innate in nature it seems, as I recall my gravitation towards art class or any sort of creatively inspired project from a very young age. My passion for creating with a purpose was crystal clear; however, it was not until high school that I found my true artistry. Over the years, I have gained experience in several different medias, but it was not until my senior year in high school that I had such an opportunity to not only choose the subject matter of my first cohesive body of work, but also the medium. Little did I realize, I was beginning one of the most challenging, thought-provoking, and ground-breaking projects for myself personally as an artist. The significance behind this body of work was by no means valued by the delivery of skill, since my work has much progressed and advanced since then. Rather, the ability to allow myself to express a message I wanted to convey, to push boundaries and illustrate a valued concept with various subject matter, was something that incredibly enhanced my fondness of monochromatic artwork, particularly charcoal. Now, the opportunity has surfaced once again where I am able to select another body of work to create, but this time, I decided to illustrate the minute details of human expression that are often quite overlooked by the hustle and bustle of our non-stop society. As a person who views the world from a different lens, catching glimpses of the nuances that make persons individualistic in nature is what intrigues and entices me. Living in a world where we are often expected to blend our blemishes, I strive to express my promotion of expression. Working with populations who sometimes need extra assistance completing seemingly trivial tasks to others has taught me that the gesture of lending a helping hand, showing compassion and the distance displayed to demonstrate concern for another person, is something so substantial, so critical to our development as humans, that I feel many truly miss the mark when there is a lack thereof. Whether the expression is exposed verbally via spoken language, physically via body gestures, facial expressions, or even sign language, through a creative representation of artwork, poetry, or fiction, a musical composition, sport, or even dance, the subtle gestures of humans are what truly captures their personality, tendencies, and perceptions of the world and its daily life. Each day, our individuality is cultivated by how others outwardly express themselves to us, and in response, our reaction also determines our perception and expression in return. At the end of the day, wouldn’t you want to be recognized for being not just any other person, but particularly you?