Shaun Clarkson is one of the top interior designers in the UK. His designs have been credited with injecting colour and glamour into some of London’s most iconic drinking hotspots for over a quarter of a century and then a near death experience forced him to reevaluate his entire life. Returning to his original calling as an artist, Shaun Clarkson is now set to unveil his first highly-anticipated exhibition since 1991, ‘Shadow’, inspired by these life changing events.
A household name in the design world, Clarkson led the way in the emerging bar, club and restaurant revolution during the nineties and early naughties, developing unique and decadent designs for a slew of luxury brands and pioneering industry leaders, including ABSOLUT Vodka, Harvey Nichols, Oxo Tower, Wallace Collection and Westfields.
Firmly established as a leader in the hospitality industry, Shaun kept a punishing schedule, crossing the Atlantic often weekly to fulfil his raft of projects, partying as hard as he was working at the end of his busy days. It was during a fateful plane journey from LAX to London that Clarkson realised his body was failing. The plane was diverted to Montreal and he was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed with double pneumonia. On the critical list for months and then forced to rest and recuperate for some time after, Clarkson decided to restructure his life in order to restore his physical and mental health.
Prioritising his wellbeing meant a complete life change. Shaun’s kaleidoscopic, frantic world of fun, sex, colour and glamour was swapped for countless hours of recuperation in his Norfolk home, surrounded by mundane objects that Clarkson began to see differently. An abundance of belongings but seemingly without purpose had he not survived. Endless days at home saw Clarkson compelled to begin cataloguing and noting the everyday objects. Suddenly he felt an overwhelming urge to return to his original passion of fine art, which he’d obtained a degree in at University. Using a process of digital photography, abstraction and over-painting, Shaun has created a series of seductive, abstract large-scale pieces. This practice was not only a meditative experience for him but a vital part of his recovery process, soon Clarkson found himself developing a unique hyper-surreal and colour soaked abstract style, inspired by the need to glorify the mundane.
Marking Clarkson’s return to art, ‘Shadow’ will showcase sixty new mixed-media works. The exhibition will include a ‘selfie wall’ installation, built from fifteen years of photographs that in hindsight document the gradual decline of Clarkson’s health. An exploration of decline and recovery, Clarkson’s new body of work finds order in chaos and not only shares his powerful journey with the audience, but also urges them to realise what it means to be alive.
About Shaun Clarkson
Shaun Clarkson has been closely involved with the UK hospitality industry for over 25 years. With a penchant for the avant-garde and the extravagant, Clarkson has worked with both global and boutique brands, and his understanding of design and inherent style has created a number of iconic venues that have shaped the industry.
Shaun’s meteoric rise began in 1991. He had been a practicing artist for seven years when restauranteur Oliver Peyton walked into his Newburgh Street exhibition and immediately offered him a job, setting him on a path that would see him decadently transforming grotty, rat-infested basements into some of the world’s most glamourous hotspots.
The press and media have paid constant attention to Shaun’s designs with features in many UK and international publications including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times, Elle Decoration, Elle Decor, Living etc, World of Interiors, Vogue and The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, Shaun Clarkson became a household name after starring in Channel 4’s Four Rooms.
Shadow: New work by Shaun Clarkson 19-25 October 2018
Candid Arts Trust, 3-5 Torrens Street
London EC1V 1NQ
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm.
Nearest tube: Angel.
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