InstaWeek is a Konbini original that introduces you to new Instagram accounts worth following. Artists, musicians, performers or just interesting people with stories to tell – every week, you will find someone new. Scroll through and get to know them better.
Meet Shawna X, the creator of what could possibly be Instagram's most titillating art...
For centuries now, people have been trying to draw the line between erotica and porn. One's supposed to be subtle, inviting, the other – more blatant, ramming you to the wall. But when we look at Shawna X's work, the two almost blend in. Her vibrant, minimal designs are seductive, mysterious and at the same time. Get to know Shawna a little bit better in the interview below:
Konbini: Hi there, Shawna! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Shawna: My name is Shawna X, I’m an artist and visual designer based in New York, but I like to disappear sometimes and work from anywhere (currently on a balcony in Xiamen, China, listening to cicadas).
I make work that spans from illustrations to swimsuit collections to neon lights, and teach a class on mobile design at Parsons School of Design. I’m really interested in social anthropology and culture, why we behave the way we do, what stimulates us, and how we are influenced, which translates really well into my personal work.
What is the main subject of your work?
Generally, I like themes that are a bit hard to discuss for a majority, from sex to death, but also, in a way, are safe and open. I am obsessed with finding inner balance and the ying-yang of living, so the work I like to tackle spans from both ends.
I make serious work when I’m feeling melancholic, and fun, carefree work when I am happy. I want to create an atmosphere, a feeling, rather than a drawing. In the past few months, I worked a lot with the female body because I found myself really appreciating everything mine can do.
What is your first memory of something beautiful?
I was about 6 and I remember my uncle had a small firework that lit up on the ground and fired out like a peacock in white bursts. I loved how magical it was and wanted to live inside of it.
What is a good habit to have in order to stay creative?
A good habit is to let the mundane things inspire you – I find myself constantly drawn to shadows cast by leaves, or curves of a leaf, or colors distorted by the sun against a painted wall...
Or, if you are really stuck, go look at some books, especially of the OG artists and designers of our time. Other work really helps inform and inspire my own, especially with a historical context.
What three creatives do you admire?
Rachel Howe, aka @smallspells, who pushes herself in so many creative endeavors and has given me two awesome stick-n-pokes. Ping Zhu, aka @pingszoo – I want to live in her brush strokes! Geoff McFetridge – the composition, form and shape in his work is a definite go-to for inspiration.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I loooove pigging out on junk food and watching tons of TV shows at once sitting with my boyfriend. We feel very guilty after, but it's always worth every second because being lazy for both of us can be a rare treat.
If a genie was about to grant you three wishes, what would they be?
One – the ability to fly or just hover-walk. Two – the ability to teleport from one spot to another and still be completely myself/whole because surely that might screw up a person’s biological makeup. Three – the power of knowledge and ignorance both at the same time.
Your creative process in a GIF: