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Art & Design
January 04, 2010
Shopping Cart Art
In the photo: "Super Savings" by Shawn Shepherd. Oil on Canvas. 38" by 48".

Victoria artist Shawn Shepherd previously appeared in our Art & Food print issue when we featured his "Breakfasts" and "Special" series of paintings. Now he has returned to the culinary theme again with a series depicting a familiar item to food shoppers - the grocery store shopping cart.

As with his other trademark images (business men, cars, fried eggs and mass media lettering), Shepherd uses familiar urban icons rendered in various mediums to signify the corporate march of follies which most urban citizens "wiggle" with on a daily basis.

"The shopping cart has become the icon of our consumer culture," says Shepherd. "The corporate intentions of the cart are now being kicked aside as non-consumer society is utilizing the shopping cart for travel, nomadic living, financial gain, military defense and weapons transport."

Perhaps we haven't seen any grocery carts rolling down the street lately filled with AK-47s, but their handy functionality for "nomadic living" is something that every city dweller has witnessed, and perhaps have also heard as squeaky wheels rumble down back lanes in the wee hours of the morning. Now, if the marketeers and their technical engineers get their way, shopping carts could get noisier and more annoying still as they take on the diabolical role of media broadcasters. The day of the cart that shouts pitches for products at us as we maneuver through the grocery aisles, is not far away. They may even tally our purchases and nag us if we have indulged in bad dietary habits. 

Looking at the subject aesthetically, most people would think that in reality they have never anything so colourful as Shepherd's model. However, if the shopping cart is constructed of polished metal, it does mirror every colour displayed within its surroundings ... tiny, distorted slices of the retail ambiance that change as the cart wheels about providing its utilitarian services. Call it art that moves you, and your baggage.

Polychome Fine Arts (1113 Fort Street, Victoria) will feature a solo exhibition of "SHOPPING CART" paintings by Shawn Shepherd in the show "RETINAL NEXUS" from January 10 to January 28, 2010. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. For more information call 250-382-2787.

( For an example of how another artist was inspired by a shopping cart
click here: The Runaway Shopping Cart

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