Jack Shure “Inner Space Explorer” Interview

Jack Shure’s art exhibit, “Inner-Space Explorer,” will take place this Saturday, Nov. 8th, at the Phaneros Gallery in Oakland, CA at 8pm. His solo exhibit features 12 brand new three feet by three feet oil paintings, which Shure completed between the months of May and October and will include a live set from Erothyme.

To get everyone out there pumped about the visionary artist’s exhibit, HYPE contributor Katie Murphy, sat down with Jack and some of his friends to talk about his work.

“When we paint with an open heart and mind we see into who we have the potential to become and we put it all on the line for the world to see…silently,” wrote Jack Shure.FRUIT_OF_PAINShure paints with the goal of providing his viewers with a portal into the unknown sacred realm, as well as allowing them to “find their own sacred space within, to listen for the subtle but potent message that art can teach us about ourselves.”

He’s only 26, but his art and soul far surpass his years on Earth. His strokes are nimble and adept, his highlights hit all the right spots, and the flow of his work is remarkably effortless and dynamic.

His relaxed and welcoming demeanor is refreshing and makes anyone in his presence feel at home. When meeting him, one can’t help but notice Shure’s kind eyes hidden behind his glasses and his intricate geometric half-sleeve tattoo, as he speaks freely about his artwork.

Jack found early inspiration in the Michelangelo book his mom gave him when he was nine. “I was blown away by that book,” he said, “I definitely saw those paintings and thought to myself, I want to do that one day.”

Shure began his career as a pen artist and silk-screening for poster art and clothes.

“Once he got into paint, he was always meant to be a painter,” said Mike Esparza, fellow artist and Jack’s good friend from high school.

Creation is something that has been embedded into Shure’s life since birth. His mother, a modern dancer, and his father, an ingenuitive architect, raised Shure in a supportive environment that encouraged individuality and artistry. He began schooling at the Waldorf schools in Boulder where the essence of childhood is nurtured with intention, inspiration and a deep connection with nature.ChrisDyerCollabFeminineLove-Dec.2012Shure attributes much of his earliest artistic tendencies to that school. “Art was a super powerful thing when I was younger because it gave me a place to escape to,” Jack said.

He mentioned that they didn’t even teach kids spelling or math until around the 4th grade and instead focused on developing a child’s imagination through kinesthetic experiences.
His alternative high school for “Indigo Children” strengthened his desire to constantly create.

Indigo schools cater to children who display a new pattern of behavior believed to be evolutionary in nature. Indigo children are usually found to be extremely creative, energetic and sensitive. “He’s a humble, kind and loving human being that cares about his passions,” Esparza said.


By definition, Shure fits this profile, however, his individualism and artwork speak for themselves and are beyond the confines of a definition. His unbelievably advanced artistic ability is uncanny and progresses everyday according to those close to him.

“It’s surreal and was very intimidating at first, but it’s an indescribable feeling to watch your favorite artist work and develop before your eyes,” said Cooper Neil, Shure’s apprentice. “He gets better every day and that’s what I aim to do by being in his presence.”

Neil has the coveted position as Shure’s apprentice and spends time painting with him in an intimate creative environment at Jack’s home studio in the hills outside of Boulder. ScarabSunrise

He described Shure as a gentle but stern and honest mentor who is easy to talk to and work alongside.

“One thing about Jack is that he treats everyone with respect,” Neil said, “Jack has no ego and is constantly pushing himself to progress his artwork.” Shure calls his closest friends “creative allies.”

Esparza and Neil both spoke of how Shure helped them learn to take time to develop their colors, add more depth to their work, as well as practice painting in the moment. That’s not the only guidance he has provided for those close to him.

“Jack has made me want to do more classic works, stuff that echoes through,” Esparza said, “I feel like the painting has become more and more attached to the workings of myself and putting out pieces is a meditation for me. This is Jack’s influence.”

In his high-energy studio, collaborative critiquing is encouraged, and it’s easy to see how so many breathtaking works come out of his studio on a regular basis. “We’re all the teachers and we’re all the students,” said Mike. “We all think differently and bring something unique to the table, and the equation is exponential at that point. It opens up barriers that you put up for yourself when someone else can see through that.”

Martina Hoffman and Robert Venosa are two artists that began inspiring Shure around the age of 19. They use the ‘Mische technique’ in their work, which is a mixture of animal protein and oil emulsion.

“It’s like alchemy, because you’re mixing a water-based paint with oil based paint and that shouldn’t work, but it does,” said Shure.

He made it his goal to master the “Mische technique” after studying under Andrew Gonzalez and Amanda Sage at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Arts in Italy. When he got back from the trip, Mike described Shure as “glowing with a sea of passion.”seedsofchange

“Once he started with oil and Mische technique, he opened my eyes to find the answer to how light works,” Esparza said, “He taught me to study everything without prejudice of the color that you think you’re seeing and look to see what actual colors are there.”

His vibrant colors are the result of thin and transparent glazes that he builds by repeatedly layering oil and protein emulsion. This technique creates the jewel-like effect and depth that are apparent in his unique artwork.

As of late, Jack credits artist, No Me (Edonna), for pushing him past his comfort zone while working on a collaboration together.

“He paints in a very different style than me, so it was very informative tuning into his way of seeing things,” explained Jack.

Shure’s integration of learned techniques alongside his thirst to evolve is what plunged him into his new style that is evident in the “Inner-Space Explorer” series.

Although some of Jack’s earlier work is reminiscent of Rick Griffin and Robert Venosa, he has truly grown into his own over the past couple of years. His older works were very calculated, and he would make sure everything was perfect before he even took it to the canvas.

He stumbled upon his new style featured in the series “Inner-Space Explorer” by accident while working through a painting that he was originally unhappy with. “It all went to shit and became very chaotic,” Shure said, “I just kept pushing thru that, built off of that chaos, found this and now I am able to tune into the chaos.”

His new approach is all about the moment, exploration and no attachments to the final product.

“This new way of painting has really been helping me to explore new techniques and new parts of myself,” said Shure, “It’s been very liberating for me.”

Each painting incorporates tangible forms, complex geometry, wispy yet precise strokes and unbelievable detail in of a surrealistic fusion, of sorts.

The fluidity of Jack’s work and the rigidity of his practice make him one of the best contemporary and progressive artists today. WHEN_WORDS_FAIL

“The colors, the textures and the design all have a natural flow and work in unison, and after watching him work, I see how natural his painting talent is,” Neil said. It’s second nature to him. Not to mention, he paints for up to 15 hours a day sometimes.”

One of Jack’s favorite pieces in the series, “Fruit of Pain,” unfolded as he learned the story of the model whose father had just died of cancer. He wanted to integrate an animal that was symbolic to the rest of the message of the painting, so he chose the raven, a macabre symbol of rebirth and courage. “It’s about turning your pain into light, love or transmutation,” Shure said.

He utilizes live models for the figures in his paintings whenever possible, and says he chose women figures because “Women are the creator of man, and we wouldn’t be here without them,” Jack said, “I want to pay homage to that any way I can, and I really like to express that beauty.”

When asked about the balance of life and death in his work, he replied, “Death is a mystery and has always been a topic of discussion for me. We can only speculate what it means. It’s a symbol for mystery and rebirth because I think we die and are reborn many times in a lifetime.”

Shure is approaching the next level of his career with a promising future in the contemporary art world. Not only is he an esteemed oil painter, but he’s also a recognized name in the ‘grassroots’ art and music scene with his designs featured on popular sunglasses, apparel and concert posters.

His career has culminated in his anticipated solo exposition at Phaneros Gallery in Oakland, Calif. on Nov. 8. The show titled “Inner-space Explorer” features 12 original 3 feet by 3 feet oil paintings, which Shure completed between the months of May and October this year.

This is an extremely difficult feat for any artist, especially for an oil painter who uses meticulous and ongoing layering techniques.

When asked if he considered himself a “visionary artist,” Shure replied, “It can sound a little self-righteous to call yourself a visionary because we are all visionaries in our own right. I just call it art.”

In order to fit Jack into a category, a new genre has to be created. “I would call his work ‘Truth Paintings of the Spirit’ or ‘Urban Classic Surrealism,” Esparza joked.jack

Jack Shure is one of the most talented and modest artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and the experience was very awe-inspiring.

Jack’s hope for his future is to “Get better at what I do and spread it to more people that it makes sense to.” Shure’s advice to aspiring artists, “Anyone can do it, you just have to work your ass off kid. And don’t forget, NEVER STOP CREATING.”

All images courtesy of Jack Shure


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