Shawn Ehlers is a former Ford/Elite model who lived and worked in Milan, Paris and New York before getting behind the lens. Photographed by well-known photographers such as Helmut Newton, Olivero Toscani, and Albert Watson, her shift behind the camera was an easy transition. She gave models movement and posing directions familiar to her, helping launch successful commercial and fashion careers.
Also working as a celebrity shooter for Wireimage and Getty Images, some of her rosters include Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, President’s Bush and Clinton, Susan Sarandon, and Whoopie Goldberg. As a fine artist, she won the prestigious gold award in 2015, Prix de la Photographie (PX3) for her series “Women as Birds”. She combines the medium of Polaroid photography with the ancient art of encaustic wax.
This series focuses on the reverence I have for nature and particularly water. Open water swimming has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am passionate about swimming in all bodies of water: oceans, lakes and rivers. Water has a fluidity that is both healing and calming. It’s the ebb and flow, the gentle and tumultuous waves that gives the water a mesmerizing effect. My intention of combining the photographic medium with encaustic wax is to evoke the feeling I get from being at one with the water or experiencing it: floating, suspending, and supporting.
I’ve come back to my roots with photography, shooting exclusively with various Polaroid cameras. I find the film produces a magic image which scanned during the development of the photo is then printed using watercolor textured archival paper and ink. Typically there are several layers of encaustic wax that are brushed on and manipulated with a palette knife to get the surface I desire. The art of encaustic wax began in ancient Greece, initially applied to the hulls of ships with pigment, and eventually made its way to both easel painting and sculpture.
There is a luminosity and dimensionality with the application of encaustic wax. The textured surfaces I create mimic the feeling of water and the image underneath. The translucent quality of the wax intensifies the feeling and beauty of the abstraction of nature.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein
2016 Architectural Digest Show Solo Booth, NYC, New York
2017 Architectural Digest Show Solo Booth, NYC, New York
2018 Black Swan Antiques Sag Harbor, New York
2019 The Other Art Fair Solo Booth NYC, New York
2019 William Ris Gallery, Jamesport, New York-”Forms and Figures”
2019 Coastal Home, Bridgehampton, New York
2019 Market Art & Design Show, Bridgehampton, New York
2019 Reveal Art Fair, Saratoga Springs, New York
2019 Sotheby’s Art House, Sag Harbor, New York
2019 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
2019 SOFA, Chicago, Illinois
2019 Art Basel-Art Now, Miami, Florida
2019 DCOTA Miami Design Center, Miami, Florida
2020 Palm Beach Art Fair, Miami, Florida
2015 Gold Winner PX3-Prix de la Photographie-Portraiture