Artist Shaun Sosinski buys his paint in the hardware department and uses a paintbrush he has to shake between each use.
For this Sosinski, inspiration lands on the canvas with a colorful hiss.
The Yuma man has mastered making art with pencil. He also knows how to paint in the traditional style, using everything from watercolors to pastels. But his newest form of artistic expression has also become his favorite.
Sosinski translates what the Muses tell him into colorful streams of spray paint. The same stuff other folks buy to spruce up a rusted patio table is what he uses to create complex and beautiful works of art.
Sosinski says he was hooked the very first time he saw a piece of spray paint art coming to life.
“It just blew me away is that what I could do with regular painting in 20 to 30 hours, I could do with spray paint in 20 to 30 minutes. It's the complexity of the picture, but it's done in the most simplified manner I have ever seen.”
But don't underestimate just what spray paint can achieve. Remember that in Sosinski's hands, this is the stuff of the art gallery, not a shop class.
“You can spray a spectrum of colors and it's done with the minimum amount of effort. The effect, however, is always just amazing,” the artist said. “I can blend fantastic colors in just minutes.”
Not being at all pretentious, spray paint is also willing to grace much more than the traditional canvas. Sosinski also paints on everything from poster board to skateboards and bikes. “I haven't done cars, but I have all the equipment. It's great to go this form to that form.”
While most paintings are best viewed upon completion, Sosinski's works come into being in a way that tells their own story. It's a process that art lovers will get to enjoy live and in action during the North End Art Walk, which is slated for Friday. The free event will be hosted by the city of Yuma Arts & Culture Commission from 5 to 9 p.m.
What people see that day will amount to the product of years Sosinski has invested into his avenues of artistic expression, a gift, calling and nagging urge that he's clearly heard from almost the beginning.
“You can say I was born with a pencil in my hand. Instead of a silver spoon, it was definitely a pencil,” said Sosinski, 30. “I am always drawing. I can draw with both hands. As I grew up I was always drawing action figures and Ninja Turtles.”
Sosinski grew up in a Marine Corps family, which meant being born in Hawaii and attending nine schools before Cibola High School in Yuma. He graduated in 2000.
All of those schools meant lots of different teachers and classmates, but one fact always remained the same: Sosinski was the kid in class who was always drawing.
“Instead of doing my homework, I was flipping pages over and drawing on them. Teachers would throw it away and I would have to dig it out of the trash on my way out of the room.”
But much of his art from his late teens into his early 20s wasn't exactly something that most folks would want hanging over the livingroom couch.
“My art got a little more gory and gruesome, not so much dark, but graphic with blood and guts and something along that type of nature.”
Sosinski could show you proof in a notebook that held a lifetime of art, except for the fact that someone stole that notebook during one of his first of many restaurant jobs after high school. That's when the artist's heart was broken and he set his pencil down for about five years.
He credits art classes at Arizona Western College for leading him back to the easel.
“I had run into a hard spot in life. I felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel in life. I knew I needed a change and do something. I knew I was good at art. Once I put pencil to paper, I was in love again. It was just a long road back to my inspiration.”
After working about 15 years in the restaurant business, Sosinski has stepped into a new role. He's now a full-time artist, although he's not quick to say he's exactly making a living at the business that certainly feeds his heart.
“Like in life, nothing is 100 percent stable. We have our ups and downs. We've hit some dry spells, to say the least. We do what we need to get by. I make T-shirts. I design tattoos.”
“We” refers to his fiance and their four kids. He got the name for his business — SELLCTARTWORK — based on his loved ones' initials.
In addition to making art, Sosinski writes poetry. He's written two books so far: “Poems that Hit Home” and “A Soldier's Guide to Soulful Poetry.”
He's also studying at AWC and hopes to eventually earn degrees in graphic arts, studio art and design, philosophy and psychology. “I want to study quantum physics, too, but there just isn't enough time.”
Sosinski creates his art on a desk set up outside his family's apartment.
“We lost our house a little more than a year ago. Yeah, hard times, right? When we put the kids to bed, it's my time to paint.
If business is going well, that means Sosinski stays busy to keep up. But if the art isn't exactly selling at the moment, there's even more reason to create, for the mental and spiritual benefits at least.
“Art is my inspiration, that part of me that no one can take away. The basis for everything I am starts with me and my artwork. So art's very therapeutic. Whether I'm happy or sad, I paint to let my emotions out. Sometimes it's your feelings, your motivation, your anxieties, sometimes it's your fears.”
To create his art, Sosinski uses everything from stencils to pots and pans — and their lids. Friends watching the creation process always seem to raise their eyebrows over the kitchenware, but Sosinski explains that they're great tools for blocking the flow of paint in certain areas.
Having the North End Art Walk coming up, like those art classes at AWC, has thrown fuel onto Sosinski's creative fire. He's once again bringing creations to life left and right again.
“To be honest, when I heard the news, I was floating away. It gives me hope and inspiration to get back into what I'm doing. Sometimes it's difficult without light and hope to push you through, when you let your goals slip through the crack. This has lit a fire under my behind to get going again.”
Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.