After being a major force in the Asheville,NC art scene for over a decade, Gabriel Shaffer now lives and works in New Orleans. He is the son of renowned folk/visionary artist Cher Shaffer and learned from a number of pioneering artists in this genre as a youth. He has an extensive background in writing and music,performing at such notable events as South By Southwest, Austin,TX and Around The Coyote Festival, Chicago,IL.Since a sell out premier at the 2005 Outsider Art Fair, in NYC, Gabriel has exhibited his work across the country and sold works of art to collectors, rock stars, celebrities, politicians, best selling authors, galleries and museums, throughout various major cities nationally and internationally.He has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers and blogs such as Raw Vision, Art Papers, Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, NY Arts Magazine, The Huffington Post and Juxtapoz. Gabriel has also had extensive experience with producing murals, installations and illustrations for various corporations, restaurants and museums including, Facebook, BMW, Sierra Nevada, PBR, Mellow Mushroom, SECCA, The North Carolina Museum of Art and The Asheville Museum of Art.
Gabriel Shaffer’s work reconsiders rural Southern spiritualism in a more open, contingent realm where archetypal stories take on an urban patina. Fusing elements of craft, graffiti, Native and Mesoamerican iconographies and the conflicted genre of visionary/outsider art, he fashions a renovated vision of regional history. With a psychedelic company of creatures and characters, Shaffer animates this mythology across drawings, assemblages, and paintings that include totems, cityscapes, portraits and masks. The grounds for these works include a variety of salvaged materials that he re-shapes into a “mongrelized,” 21st century model of “urban folk art”. Salvage and serendipity are a crucial part of his process, creating openness to chance that infuses both his subject matter and materials. Roaming flea markets, abandoned factories and alleyways, he collects everything from handwritten letters, ledgers, books and children’s art to doors, boxes, discarded window frames and metal. This philosophy of gathering and collage allows him to picture culture with culture and propels his work into a larger archetypal arena. Seeing street artists as the folk artists of today, Shaffer translates material history and mystic tradition into the fodder for prophetic dreaming and creates a platform for ancient deities to travel to the present. As they move between realms, linear concepts of time, bend to an eternal “now” where icons are regenerated through a contemporary application.” Steven Matijcio, Curator of Contemporary Art, SECCA