RON SHUEBROOK: LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Department of VisualArt Western University
Art Now 2274A
October 31 , 2013 RON SHUEBROOK: LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Ron Shuebrook is an artist with many professional accomplishments: painter, drawer,
print maker and professor are just a few titles he claims. Shuebrook has adopted a positive
attitude and developed an effective strategy that has enabled him to develop a diverse and
successful artistic career.
Shuebrook's work commonly involves intersecting lines and shapes, creating interplay
between positive and negative space. His pieces are usually pleasing to the eye and the
overlapping components create interesting patterns. From a contemporary outlook, however, his
body of work lacks variety and pieces are consistently similar to each other. In examining
Shuebrook's work, little or no progression can be seen over his forty year career as an artist.
There is much that can be learned from Shuebrook’s attitude towards life and his practice, as
well as his thoughts on staying true to himself as an artist. Nonetheless, regardless of how
innovative his art may have seemed to the 1970’s Western art world, the fast pace of the current
art world demands more variety and visual stimulation than his work has to offer.
As Ron Shuebrook explained during his presentation “Art in the Public Sphere” at
Western University, he has found that approaching an artistic practice with a positive and
constructive attitude towards his own capabilities, experiences and surroundings can be
an effective method for achieving success. As artists, we are all faced with feelings of
1 Ron Shuebrook, “Arthin the public Sphere” (presentation, Art Now 2274A, Western University, London,
Ontario, October 17 , 2013) vulnerability concerning how our work will be received and the uncertainty about where
an artistic career may lead. Emerging artists can learn much from Shuebrook’s outlook on
how to use experiences, personal identity, and environmental setting to our advantage.
Shuebrook stresses that finding a place as an artist and developing a voice can be helpful
in the progression of a career and that having a romantic view of oneself can counteract
some of the feelings of vulnerability and stress that artists face. This is useful advice as
most practicing artists will face financial struggle at some point in their career and
Shuebrook is a shining example of taking nothing for granted and continuing to be
productive even in the most dreary of settings (such as his rat infested studio).
Another outlook Shuebrook has which is a useful example for today’s young artists is to
remain true to our own identities and find our artistic voices. To Shuebrook, a feeling of
gratitude for ones community can be found within any setting through the negotiation and
translation of experiences into artwork. In this way, artists can attain a place within the
community while still remaining true to themselves. Artwork has a more genuine feel to
it when the artist is passionate and true to their work so it is important for artists to find
their artistic voice and discover what it is they are trying