Shane Townley, born in 1972 Ithaca, NY, grew up in the beautiful town of San Clemente spending most of his time as a kid surfing the San Clemente Pier in perfect 70-degree SoCal weather. Years later, Kurt Cobain had just died and Townley, depressed, was painting in his garage when a close artist friend urged him to attend graphic design school, a place where he felt would further develop his creativity. It was in 1994, while attending the Platt School of Art & Design that Townley was actually asked to leave the school for creating personal works of art in defiance of the designated educational curriculum.
Since then, Townley has worked for several commercial newspaper and magazine publications, where he felt that, as a designer, his artwork was a tool for corporate waste. The motivation to separate himself from an environmentally destructive industry sent Townley on a road trip across the US to eventually establish his first organized art shows for friends in a collaborative space called, 104, in San Clemente in 2004. Here, Townley dedicated himself to studying art, art history, and delving into the landscapes he saw that fueled Townley’s passion for environmentalism. Back to his hometown in San Clemente, it was obvious that the planet was changing for the worse; now, surfing seasons were in 80 to 90-degree weather and feeling cool coastal air meant running the air conditioning the whole day. Townley’s oil paintings started to feature dark skies, on a hopeful horizon, and rich, potent landscapes designed with globs of oil. For Townley, leaving the corporate world, a “perfect” job by societies standards, for 104 was an emotional journey.
In 2015, the artist migrated to New York to expand on the turbulent blue waves, and nature based iconography in his paintings through public exhibitions and artist group shows that introduced Townley to like minded creatives. Just four years later in 2019, Townley created a collaborative display space located in 373 Broadway, New York, New York, where hundreds of artists featured original works of art every month. Over the course of 2019, 14,000 art enthusiasts, curators, collectors, and celebrities have attended exhibitions. The collaborative efforts of the creative community impacts the necessary mechanisms behind Townley’s painting inspirations.
More recently, in February 2020, Townley created the “Dark Series”, an emotionally dense body of work created on various mediums, canvas, linen, or board, featuring dark, broad black textured strokes. At this point in time, Townley was frustrated, he had endured 4 years of full-time work, searching for the perfect New York space, and was managing an enormous number of collectors: he was burned out. “Dark Series” encompassed the suffering and mental exhaustion, it was a raw emotional reflection of his internal experience, and inadvertently foreshadowed March 2020 and the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic: a dark time for us all.
At this moment, Townley is focusing on his communal artist exhibition space, LagunaART.com in The Shops of Mission Viejo, California. In this space, the artist painted in May 2021 a 12ft x 12ft environmental piece called “Mother Earth”. The large scale painting features, trash collected from patrons, paint, bold textures, and highlights a pair of eyes crying down the canvas over an abstracted polar ice cap. This piece is currently on display next to Nordstrom and the Apple Store in LagunaART.com. Townley also collaborates with hundreds of artists to present a new 30-day exhibition on the 1st Saturday of every Month.
November 2021, Townley lauched the 1st digital NFT museum called, Museum.io, to be developed inside the metaverse. He is releasing a new series of his own digital works from 1994, returning to the source of inspiration from his youth, which was the beginning of the digital arts movement with photoshop almost 30 years ago when he worked as a graphic designer.
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