SEAN SULLIVAN · ART, SPRAYED

sean-sullivan

Pop-Art on Graffiti, on more Pop-Art and yeah, on Graffiti. You have definetely already found a bunch of Sean’s creations over the world and in social media. The same art that saved his life has taken him to some of the finest galleries in under two years. Born and raised in New York, this artist puts part of his life, his inspiration and his very own perception of the world around him in every painting. Art enthusiasts and collectors can’t get enough of his unique, eye-popping work:

The Gentleman's Champion
The Gentleman’s Champion

I started doing graffiti as a kid in the streets, and then discovered guys like Banksy, Brainwash… I grew up around graffiti in the Bronx (Manhattan), so I know tons of graffiti artists, guys who are really big artists now and I grew up watching all those guys. I figured when it was time for me to get into the art world and start showing my stuff in the galleries, that I wanted to be influenced by them, but I didn’t want to do the same exact stuff as them because I think the graffiti world is very over-exagerated.

Levels to insanity
Levels to insanity

I have a fascination with this stuff in New York, how everything is kind of like on top of each other: all the graffitis on top of each other, the advertisements are on top of each other… that’s why my work looks the way it looks, it’s because of the strong influence New York City has on me. When you look at my stuff, there’s usually back paintings beneath them, around them, I do collage, I do painting, I do stencil… that’s why my work looks the way it looks and it’s pretty unique, because of what inspires me compared to others do.

Major Key
Major Key

I used to get in trouble for other things, but never graffiti.

Close-up from "Dripped in Gold"
Close-up from “Dripped in Gold”

In every painting someone is going to have a halo over their head, three dots -that are tattooed in my hand- and stand for my crazy life, and a heart somewhere in there which symbolizes how art saved my life from a very, very bad path and art is now calling first before anything. I mean, not before my family, but I decided to give up on everything else that I was working on. Art is really my first love.

Private comission
Private comission

Most of my paintings are a combination of multiple paintings. Maybe one painting will have three different ideas that I wanted to do in three different paintings, and come together with one painting.

A close-up from "Liquid Cash"
A close-up from “Liquid Cash”

I like people to figure out for themselves whatever they think it’s going to mean for them, you know?

“Sometimes I’d do two paintings that are kind of similar, and then one collector would think of it one way and then another collector would think of it in a completely different way, and I don’t ever correct them. If it’s one of the character paintings I’m doing, there’s no real meaning behind it, they just look cool; but it’s stuff like the ones with the prision boys or the stencils of my grandfather then yeah, there’s meaning behind those, but I don’t tell anybody what they mean, I just do them.”

Pink Panther
Pink Panther

I missed a show recently that I did because I was told there would be too many people, but yeah usually I stop in my shows for like an hour, and talk to them and then I leave. I don’t really want to hear anybody’s opinions, I just want to paint.

Deck for Fillin Global Group
Deck for Fillin Global Group

“My background is fashion: I own a very popular clothing company (Syc Fuk), for years I did tailoring, pattern design, design… I worked for a seamstress who put together the gowns for the opera singers and the ballerinas in New York, so I grew up as a kid measuring ballerinas and fitting them for dresses, so there’s a lot of ballerina influence in my stuff; I’m actually going to work in a whole series of ballerina stuff now.

I worked in the music industry for a couple of years, but music and fashion don’t play that much of an inspiration on my paintings, not now.”

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“A few weeks ago I just threw a show in the city, and I was hanging paintings and this little boy comes up, he’s about 9 or 10 years old, and he shows me picture and goes “Is this your painting?”, I go “Yeah, it is my painting!” and he says “Oh, it’s in my house, my mom bought it last year, and I recognized your style. It’s really cool, my mom loves your stuff”; I don’t know who he is, I don’t know who she is because she bought it at a gallery, but I thought it was really cool and he did it in front of some collectors of mine. It’s cool that a 9 year old who was there with his nanny recognized me and my stuff.”

Beautiful Lust
Beautiful Lust

There’s lots of art that I haven’t sold because I don’t want to sell it yet, I don’t want to put it out there and fail at it. I’m fearful that if I put it out there, I might fail at it, it might hurt the prices of the stuff that I’m selling already; so what I do is I incorporated a little bit of it into the other paintings, so I slowly build it up.

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There has only been one painting that I haven’t sold, it’s in my son’s room, but money talks, so I might sell it, who knows?

smoking-boy

“My dad’s a cop, so no, I didn’t get artistic influence at home.”

I do think that I have evolved at the same time as a person and as an artist, I used to be a lot more agressive and hostile, but I think dealing with the art world and the people in it, art makes you happy, I feel better about myself as a person, so dealing with these happier people has made me happier, and I work all night long anyway but I don’t have to get up at 6 in the morning and go to work for some people, deal with assholes, I just do my own thing and I’m happy with it, I’m able to succeed.

 

“Maybe this personal evolution is reflected in my work because I’m doing these paintings that are labeled “Love” and “Beautiful”, and people love those and they sell really well. I’ve only been painting professionally and selling in the galleries for a year and a half, I’ve seen success really fast, and that has caused maybe some issues with other artists that I work with because they’ve been working for 10 years and maybe they haven’t been able to get in a gallery or they can’t sell paintings and I’m in a bunch of galleries around the world. The experience has been a little different for me than for other people, but I think it’s because of my approach and what I do at a personal level with buyers and stuff.”

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I think this is it, I don’t ever have to retire from being an artist.

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The art works I’m the proudest of are maybe the ones that I haven’t created yet.

young-k

It would be a dream to see my paintings in the museums I grew up going to.

Artist at work
Artist at work

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