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Jim Shaw (American, b.1952)

Paintings

Birth Place: Midland, MI USA

Biography:

Who is painter Jim Shaw?

Jim Shaw is a painter and mixed-media artist whose contemporary work centers on O-ism, a religion invented by Shaw that works as a throughline for the artist’s entire oeuvre. For years Shaw has reveled in the esoteric lore of fringe cults and political movement, often using those sources of inspiration in his own work. UFOs, all-seeing eyes, and other iconography of those tropes frequently make their way into Shaw’s pieces.

Originally a punk rocker, Shaw has found an uneasy home in the New York art community. He first came to prominence around 1980, after leaving his iconic musical group, Destroy All Monsters. Since then, Shaw has embraced, and been embraced by the weird side of the art world, creating “Thrift Store Paintings” which feel raw to the point of being almost amateur. That said, there is an incredible amount of thought and technique that goes into every piece by Shaw. This has been recognized by the Art world in a big way. Shaw’s pieces have been shown at some of the most famed galleries in New York and have toured the country several times.

What kind of art does Jim Shaw make?

At times described as both an insider and outsider artist, Jim Shaw makes strange paintings and mixed-media pieces that are often designed to unnerve and disturb the viewer. These paintings often deal with esoteric subjects like the occult, UFOs, or other American paranoia. Shaw’s pieces are often manifest in a variety of different mediums, from graphite and paper to airbrush, to traditional oil on canvas. The throughline is almost always O-ism, Shaw’s invented religion which he says originated alongside Mormonism in the 19th century. Shaw’s pieces challenge and confuse the viewer, but his technique and skill can draw the eye just as well as repel it. Like the artist, Shaw’s work is truly one-of-a-kind.

How did painter Jim Shaw get started?

Jim Shaw was born in Midland, Michigan in 1952, the son of a Dow Chemical product designer. Shaw received a BFA in art from the University of Michigan. It was during his time at school where he met fellow visual artist Mike Kelley. The two went on to form the band Destroy All Monsters, a noise/punk band who went on to some acclaim. After the dissolution of the band, Shaw moved to Los Angeles where he became obsessed with “abject” art, combing through second-hand stores, flea markets, and other “low” art pieces. Shaw became obsessed with the “hairy underbelly” of American capitalism, a topic which he still explores to this day.

How much are Jim Shaw paintings worth?

Jim Shaw paintings can be worth around $1,800 on the low end, but trend to over $500,000 for major work. The most ever paid for a Jim Shaw painting at auction is $656,000 for the piece The Donner Party (2003) which sold on February 26th, 2007. This is by far his highest-selling piece, selling for about $500,000 more than his next most expensive work. Shaw’s a one-of-a-kind artist and could potentially represent a nice investment for the savvy collector.

Where to buy Jim Shaw paintings for sale?

See the works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on the artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Jim Shaw paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.


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Jim Shaw Original Art values sold at auction

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