#AceOnAce with Shane Gardner, Digital Artist

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Part 3 of the #AceOnAce Series continues with Shane Gardner. He is an Ace of digital art and a wonderful role model for anyone looking to pursue a passion. Put simply, he has found the beauty within the process.

Please take a moment to review the picture carousel below.

This will...

(1) give you proper context for the article &

(2) straight-up FLOOR you.

I would like to introduce you to Shane Gardner’s incredible digital artwork.

Shane is a digital artist with a knack for creating illustrations of some of your favorite musical artists.

He found his love for art through pencil, paper, and simple curiosity, but made a transition to digital art when he attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Shane is a true class act. He is humble, talented, and eager to pursue his passion.

It was so refreshing speaking to someone like Shane because he is someone that loves the process as much as the reward. This was abundantly clear when I found out that it took him until the end of high school to realize he had something really special going on.

During the interview, I asked Shane to talk about a moment where he felt confident in his talent; a moment where he felt like he was kickin’ ass and following what he was meant to do.

He explained that a highlight for him was his Senior Art Show where he displayed all of the work he had done over his high school career.

“When I posted my wall, I was getting a lot of comments about it from people who didn’t know I drew and that [they felt] my stuff was really good. I was like, ‘Am I even that good?’ I didn’t really know. It was just something that I liked to do so I did it.”

This moment was critical for him because it led to his decision to pursue it at the University level.

He explained, “Going to college, it was carrying all of the stuff I already had and then my teachers throwing in the education behind it, like why we can draw the way we draw and how we can break art down into more mathematical and scientific ways. Throwing those things into what I already figured out how to do gave me a more solid backbone on how to dissect pictures.”

It was through this experience that he found his current art medium, Procreate.

Out of all of my #AceOnAce Interviews, I find Shane’s talent so compelling because it is truly based on talent alone, it is not something that can be given nor taught without the required skillset.

He can turn a blank page, or a blank document, into a masterpiece with a drawing instrument as an extension of his mind.

I am not someone with that talent (maybe you could argue my PowerPoint graphics are somewhat artisitic…), so I was so interested in understanding his process.

How does the mind know the shading and required definition? How does the hand so effortlessly propel yet succumb to the mind? An artist’s paradox.

Shane spoke to this concept saying, “I just love how you can hand different artists a prompt and the result would be different between everybody.

All the Visual Arts majors had to take a drawing course freshman year, and we had to draw still lifes in class all the time. It would literally be like draw this stool. We were all staring at the same exact item… but [our drawings] would look so different.”

He continued saying, “Someone’s experiences can shape how their art looks or how they view art or the type of strokes, the type of lines, the type of colors…[What’s special] is how unique art is to everybody.

While the creation of art is something special rooted in true talent, it’s crazy how difficult it can be to enter the industry. This led to a really interesting discussion about passion versus practicality.

Growing up, we were told to follow our passions fearlessly from the adults in our lives that didn’t. But being able to marry a creative passion with a financially sound career is something that seems more like the exception rather than the standard.

The barriers to enter the art industry is what Shane described as the barrier for him to move to the next level. While it is certainly an obstacle, every obstacle comes with a path beyond it. It’s not a dead end.

Every chance he gets, Shane continues to refine his art skills. What has been inspiring him recently? A portfolio of Ariana Grande’s album artwork. I freakin’ love that.

As I stress time and time again on the blog, it is so important to keep passions from becoming burdens. Digital art can be extremely tiring and time consuming, but Shane is able to remain inspired with artwork he enjoys creating.

He is finding fulfillment through his passion.

The last thing I spoke to Shane about was my standard last question of what it means to be called an Ace.

This has become such a special moment in the interview process because not only does it change from person to person like the stool still life Shane described, but it really summarizes who the person is.

All the little insights I pull from throughout the interview really come together in this response. Here’s what Shane had to say.

“You have something that no one can take away from you. If you had to go and tell someone this is what I do, you would feel confident, you would feel powerful, you would feel backed up by that thing. My word, my art would be like a stamp of approval for me.”

Confident and powerful; these are the characteristics that come with fulfillment.

Shane is a true Ace of digital art. He loves what he does, he’s motivated by his work, he perfects his craft, and he is abundantly talented.

The most insightful thing I took away from our discussion, although there were many, was how true determination is fueled by love. It comes from giving a damn, and saying, “I care, so I will.”

Shane never needed positive reinforcement from peers or external motivators. He does what he loves and finds fulfilling. And, hey, it doesn’t hurt that he has an amazing skillset to support the endeavor.

Reflect on your own passions and the things you care for to your core. Are you honoring those things or suppressing them?

This is a choice. And it’s made by you.

Shane's Instagram: @shane_the_best_there_is

Part 1 with Chef & Event Planner Mikey Robins. Click HERE.

Part 2 with Youtuber, Sydney of Syd's Vids. Click HERE.

Part 4 with Sierra Rohrbaugh, Florist. Click HERE.

Shane, as a friend and fan, I am in awe of your talent and kind heart. I hope your passion remains to burn bright through the beautiful illustrations you create. I wish you nothing but success in your endeavors.

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