Shane Grammer at the Artisan Gallery
Big doe eyes. An egg-shaped head on a pencil-thin neck. A T-shirt with a large heart on it, anchored by clasped hands of Brobdingnagian proportions. This is artist Shane Grammer’s “Fatherless Child,” a recurring character in his paintings and sculptures.
Grammer explains the character’s somewhat tragic back story: Sculpted in into fiberglass through reverse-mold process in his Natomas studio, the Child was reproduced multiple times for his August show, I Was Made for Love, at the Artisan Gallery. “It’s kind of healing to me, making this character,” Grammer explains. A former inner-city youth counselor, Grammer often advised kids without fathers. And he also sought counseling himself to deal with his own father-figure issues: Grammer’s biological dad fatally overdosed on heroin when he was only 5, and his alcoholic stepfather rejected him as a son. The cartoonish Fatherless Child quietly, achingly and persistently awaits validation.
But Grammer’s art also challenges visually. The shapes and hues this Roseville resident spray paints and airbrushes skew urban; he cites Juxtapoz Art & Culture magazine as point of inspiration. And although he labels his show as “Star Wars meets urban hip-hop"—wall sculptures resembling rusted galactic flotsam of the Millennium Falcon, tagged with pink hearts, rivets and yellow and black hazard-tape accents—his Christian beliefs are prevalent. He stencils the chapter and verse of rousing Bible passages onto his work and attaches 3-D lion heads to his pieces, symbolizing God’s omniscience over all creations—like a father watching over a doe-eyed boy.
He has big hopes for future projects, too: “I want to do [a sculpture of] Jesus on the cross with lights. Just go crazy.”
Grammer says he’s not trying to preach his beliefs, but wants to demonstrate the importance of God in his life, adding that “God still sees hope for us,” and for Grammer, that surely includes all fatherless children.