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Moody Portraits of Urban Streets: Art by Shawn Demarest

A painting of a snowy street bathed in pink lightSnow Day Pink, oil on panel

Portland, Oregon-based artist Shawn Demarest enjoys capturing spaces in her artwork, focusing on moody portraits of urban streets.


A painting of a city intersection with an overly of abstract linesSE Division & 82nd/Tangle, oil on panel


The slightly blocky, stylish realism that Shawn paints in is really attractive. I enjoy the way that the artist tends to distill her works down into a basic, unified color scheme – often deep electric blue for nighttime scenes and a paler shade for snowy daytime settings. This color theme seems to give Shawn the opportunity to rely on patches of shadow and highlight to build up volume in her works.


The front page of Shawn Demarest's art websiteThe front page of Shawn's website


Most of the paintings look directly down streets, often slick with rain or snow and painted in a highly reflective manner. In a recent series, East/SouthEast:Merge, Shawn created an abstract overlay on these street portraits, distorting the images in a clever way to reflect the duality of a particular street in Portland. These new works and more of Shawn’s scenes of urban sprawl are available on the artist’s website.


A painting of an empty street with a textured overlaySE 82nd no 3, oil and graphite on panel

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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