Michael Shankman creates 'images of impossible places' 

San Francisco-based artist Michael Shankman’s work has been exhibited internationally and featured in New American Paintings, Harper’s and Guernica magazines. Locally, his work is at Hang Art Gallery, 567 Sutter St.

How do your immediate surroundings influence your art?

When I first moved to San Francisco in 2002, I was guided completely by my surroundings, and a painting amounted to whatever I had stumbled across that week. Gradually, I became more intentional about what I was painting, and I began to use my own experience as a collage to create images of impossible places.

You lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a while. How does San Francisco’s art scene compare?

San Francisco’s art scene is colorful, vibrant and inspiring, but it is absolutely dwarfed by New York. The New York culture is thick and there is just more of everything there, but there are days when the city just crushes you. Plus, you can’t get a fresh avocado there to save your life.

How has the recession affected your work?

This year, I had a show at Hang Art Gallery called "Dream Home." The work takes place in my home state of Colorado, where suburban homes, many now in foreclosure, surround the ruins of Gold Rush-era homesteads. It’s all splitting and crumbling together, the old and the new, and so is my bank account.

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Juliana Bunim

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