The Source of my work

I’d like to tell you a story of origin: a story about how I found the source of my own work.

 This source is an actual geographical location. You may or may not be able to perceive this place with your physical eyes. My first glimpse of this place was a stream in a cow pasture creek behind an old Native American schoolhouse in Southeastern Oklahoma.

 I followed its limestone bed as far north as the shaded-cool waters of the Ozarks, followed its network of tributaries to the Brazos, past the Heart of TX and further until it ran on to the brown water ports of the Texas gulf.

 At some point I joined my husband’s expedition as he had found the stream in the gin-clear waters of the Caribbean. I helped him trace their source to the grassy rivers closer to his own roots. These streams, they were everywhere. They opened up into a place that was all but inconceivable. The place was called the Ocean of the Streams of Story.

 If you’ve never been there, it’s much like what it sounds: an Ocean full of the Streams of Story. When you stand at the edge of the Ocean you will see what I saw, that it is made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different color, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity. These are the Streams of Story.

 And it is important that you know as you look at these that each colored strand represents and contains a single tale.  Different parts of the Ocean contain different sort of stories. There are stories of personal history, ancient stories full of wisdom, fables, mythologies from around the world.

 There is a place within the Ocean of the Streams of Story for each and every one of these.  All the stories that have ever been told and many that are still in the process of being invented can be found here. The Ocean of the Streams of Story is in fact the largest library in the universe.

 Now this part is really really really important. If my story has lulled you to sleep, please perk up for this.  Because the stories are held here in liquid form, they retain the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that very unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story is much more than a storeroom of yarns.

The Ocean of the Streams of Story is not dead, but it is very much alive.

And within the Ocean of the Streams of Story there are artists. When these artists get hungry, they swallow stories in every imaginable way and in their innards, miracles occur.

A little bit of one story joins on to an idea from another and presto, when they spew stories out they are not old tales but new ones.  All streams flow into the sea, but the sea is never full…



Stories: Ancient Fluidity

“The beliefs of the societies were embedded in their myths, and the myths were expressed in images.” George Lankford

I’ve begun painting and research on a body of work to be shown with the Chickasaw nation in November. I’m utilizing imagery from art and artifacts of the Southeastern Indians. A desire to understand more of my Chickasaw heritage caused me to first begin exploring these images and the powerful stories they carry.

Stories are central to my work as an artist and although these particular stories are ancient, I want to encounter them today. In beginning a project like this, my hope is that something important will be revealed through the process. As I go back and look at these stories, I’ll be thinking about and emphasizing the ways these stories bend and move so that they continue to serve us today.  

Follow along, if you like. I’ll keep you posted.


Y’all: I keep forgetting to tell you that I shipped off some work to Grand Rapids, Michigan for ArtPrize. It’s hanging at the Harris Building.

Are y’all familiar with ArtPrize? It’s so super cool. Here’s a bit of what it’s all about:

ArtPrize is a radically open, independently organized international art competition with an unprecedented $200,000 top prize decided entirely by public vote.

For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, become an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown, and it’s all free and open to the public.

It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.

My name is Erin Shaw, I like to say y’all to perpetuate the Oklahoma stereotype. You can vote for me here.

Best Party in OKC


Y’all, tomorrow OKC hosts the biggest and best party of the year. Thrown by The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC), this party features the work of 150 of Oklahoma’s finest artists with local restaurants and live music.

The party starts tomorrow, Friday, September 20 at 7:00pm at 50 Penn Place, 1900 NW Expressway in Oklahoma City.

I will have a piece included in the fundraiser as well as lots of other fantastic work!

Tickets to the 12x12 Art Show & Sale are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are available by phone at 405-879-2400, online at, or at ticket outlets: Blue Seven, Full Circle Bookstore, New Leaf Florist, Guestroom Records (Norman & OKC) and Café Evoke (Edmond). 

Hope to see you there!


This summer I invited my son and ten of his pals into the studio to make some art. Each child brought in an object that was interesting or important to them. We spent two weeks creating drawings and images based on their objects while weaving together a story that is truly delightful.

Since the children have been back in school, I have been turning their drawings into object-paintings and we are all very excited to share them with you.

I love working with children because they encapsulate all that I hope to be as an artist: intuitive, deliberate and fearless. When I first began working with my son, Samuel, I was struck with how effortless the creative process was for him. The work I did this summer with Samuel and his buddies continues to challenge me and my own art practice.

We will be showing our collaboration at the Marvin Embree Art Gallery, 3003-A Paseo, OKC, in the Paseo on October 4 from 6-10. 

Collaborating artists include: Avalon Halferty, Brody Offel, Dylan Beeson, Erin Shaw, Gavin Gayanich-Tipton, Isaac Beeson, Jackson Magness, Lily Halferty, Parker Bryant, Samuel Shaw and will be present at the opening to discuss their work.

Hope to see you there!

First Friday, The Paseo OKC

This month I’ll be showing some work at the Marvin Embree Art Gallery in the Paseo. The opening is this Friday, August 2 from 6-10pm at 3003-A Paseo. Come out if you have a chance. 

I’ll be showing an installation of paintings that is inspired by the connection between cartography and constellations. As well as a random selection of other paintings.

Minneapolis, MN

I crated up a couple paintings this past week and sent them on their way to the All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis. My work will be part of a show curated by Tony Tiger that will also include the following artists: Ben Harjo, Anita Fields, Bob Martin, Molly Murphy Adams, Troy Jackson, Shan Goshorn, Michael Elizondo Jr, Marwin Begaye, Norman Akers and Tony Tiger.

You can read the press release at

Summer Art Collaboration

This summer’s collaboration included my son and 10 of his friends. We spent two weeks creating imagery, making some large all-over canvases, stretching 3 large panels and weaving together a story of epic proportions. 

I am going to work on turning those images into object-paintings and making the panels into a depiction of their story.

We had a blast working together and will be showing our work in September at the Marvin Embree gallery in the Paseo. Stay tuned for details.

The Language of Flowers - Myriad Gardens

I’ll be participating in a group show that opens this Thursday from 5-7pm at the Myriad Gardens.

From the press release: “The Language of Flowers” gallery show explores the relationship between people and flowers and plants, their roles in oral history, in medicine/ethnobotany, literature and/or personal and family stories. Some of the works feature botanical imagery; some are more conceptual or abstract, as envisioned by an incredible group of nationally prominent and widely-collected Native American artists including: Heidi Bigknife, Shawnee; Kelly Church, Odawa-Ojibe; Tom Farris, Otoe-Missouria-Cherokee; Matt Jarvis, Osage; Topaz Jones, Shoshone-Lummi-Kalapuya-Molalla; Daniel McCoy, Muscogee Creek-Potawatomi-Seminole; America Meredith, Cherokee Nation; Erin Shaw, Chickasaw-Choctaw; Tony Tiger, Sac and Fox-Mucogee-Seminole.

Above Image: Uwaga by America Meredith

Full press release can be viewed here:

First American Art Magazine

First American Art Magazine recently launched AND featured an excellent profile on me and my work. I am thrilled to be a part of this publication and community. If you haven’t had a chance to see the magazine yet, it can now be viewed online at:

OR better yet, visit the website and become a subscriber:

First American Art Magazine is a brand new publication that exists to promote and contextualize visual, media, literary, and performing arts of Indigenous Americas from a hemispheric Indigenous perspective. Their goal is to foster critical dialogue about the art of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. They provide a forum to bridge the academy and the general public. FAAM examines current and historical issues through an Indigenous American lens.

Erin Shaw Art Blog

I have retired my old blog and am starting a brand new one!

I’ll be posting about where my work is headed post MFA, shows I’ll be a part of, in progress studio work, my daily caffeine intake, an occasional joke, what I’m reading, and anything else pertinent to my art life. 

The first 20 people to follow, like, double tap, high five will receive an all expense paid trip to Bora Bora!

Thanks for joining along and for your continued support.

PS Just kidding about Bora Bora…