Artist Statement

Influences on my work include illustrators from the early twentieth century and books about science, mythology and religion. In my paintings, I am attempting to create my own alternate mythologies and stories. They deal with themes of sadness, creativity, nature and death.

I grew up around pools and lakes and am drawn to water imagery. I treat it as an opportunity to be fluid and gestural with brushwork, contrasted to the more controlled handling of my portrait work. I also like the idea of cropping figures dimensionally in space. In my water series, the figures inhabiting them are attempting to peer though a symbolic barrier, searching for something. The mystery or ambiguity of their search is what drives me.

Creating graphic novels is the most challenging because it is a multi-faceted art, much like playing the roles of writer, actor, director, and producer of a film all at once. I choose to focus particularly on the expression of characters and exploring adaptations of the text that are not overtly literal.

My aim in all of my work, whether it is paintings or illustrations, is to convey what has not yet been created. By conveying aspects of the human experience that are difficult, if impossible, to articulate in words, I am able to connect with my viewers by communicating these concepts.


Accomplished painter, illustrator, and comics creator, Adam Benet Shaw has garnered acclaim across a number of artistic media. Shaw completed studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio and the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland before exhibiting in London, England and being selected as an emerging American artist to watch by European gallery owners. He later continued his training at Watts Atelier in California.

Featured in New American Painting, selected multiple times for the Arkansas Art Center’s Delta Exhibit, and shown at the prestigious “Red Clay Survey” at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Shaw’s work has been shown in over fifty group and solo shows in the US and internationally. His figurative paintings are a prominent part of a 140-foot mural entitled “The History of Cotton” at the National Cotton Exchange Museum. His paintings and portraits are a treasured part of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the National Contact Bridge Museum, and private and corporate collections.

He has created storyboards for motion pictures, stage design for operas and corporate events, and character illustrations for the gaming industry. His published graphic novel work includes the series Dead In Memphis, Bloodstream for Image Comics, David: The Illustrated Novel for Shepherd King Publishing and Harpe: America’s First Serial Killers for Cave-in-Rock Publishing.

Recently, he has been painting book covers for publishers New Pulp and Airship 27 Productions. His studio is in the Broad Avenue Arts District in Memphis, Tennessee.