This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
Christopher Shaw’s brother used to joke that he couldn’t even draw a stick figure.
That may be true, but put a can of spray paint in his hand and that all changes.
Shaw, 15, discovered his unique talent of spray paint art on a whim — well, a trip actually.
“About five years prior to when I started (painting), my family and I had gone out to visit my uncle in California,” he said. “We went into San Francisco and on the streets there was a man who was doing spray paint art.”
Shaw came home and wanted to give it a shot and found that he had the ability to create paintings.
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“I shocked myself because I’m not that good of a drawer and I can’t paint for anything, but when I spray paint, it’s all different,” he said. “It’s definitely a cool thing.”
His parents weren’t quite sure what to make of his original request when approached to buy spray paint.
“They looked at me like I was crazy,” Shaw said. “It was out of the blue. Since they’re not used to me doing any type of art, they were shocked I wanted to try anything.”
Nonetheless, Shaw’s mother took a shopping trip to Home Depot and what transpired after his first piece put to rest any questions or doubts anyone may have had.
The talent may come naturally, but Shaw did take to YouTube to find some tutorials and get ideas of different techniques and ways to use the spray paint.
The Unionville High School sophomore has been doing the spray paint art for the last 10 months and had his first taste of public display at the Chadds Ford Days in early September.
“It was pretty cool seeing how people reacted, especially since it’s something they’re not used to seeing,” Shaw said. “When you walk by a booth and someone says, ‘Oh, these are paintings,’ they don’t feel the full affect of what it actually is.
“When you tell them it’s spray paint, they do a double take and ask how you do that.”
The event was a big promotion took for Shaw as people learned his name and learned of the work he does, especially after putting on a couple of demonstrations throughout the day.
“A lot of people were interested in my work,” he said. “I sold about 20 paintings in the two days. It was a pretty good start for me.”
Shaw’s demonstrations not only showed his talent level with spray paints, but also his quickness.
On average, he can whip out a painting of the galaxies in seven minutes or less and for a beach scene, he takes only about two minutes more.
Don’t let that fool you. He may be quick, but it’s not easy.
“The thing with spray paint is that it’s very tricky,” he said. “You have to make sure when you’re doing the moves, you know what you’re going to do and you have to know if you do something and do like it, how will you fix it? It’s basically just a learning skill.
“After you get comfortable with how spray painting works, it’s very easy to do it faster and it’s always helpful sticking with the same brand of paint because you know how it’s going to work.”
Though this has only been a recent discovery for Shaw, he wants to continue with it for the foreseeable future, but more as a hobby instead of a career.
“I think it can be somewhat of a part-time job or hobby,” he said. “It’s just something to make spare money and even if I don’t make money off it, it’s something that I’ll keep doing. I impress myself with some of the things that you’re able to do with it.”
For more information on Christopher Shaw, please visit his website at www.xcdsproductionsx.com.