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My fave family goth–Shawn Dubin at Trust


When my nephew Shawn Dubin isn’t tattooing full sleeves and other scenic wonders of the flesh at Moo Tattoo on South Street, he draws. He’s a comics artist (he recently wrote a post for us on his experience at Comic Con in New York), an illustrator, and a dreamer of gothic stories peopled by skeletons and lost souls. He’s been drawing since he was 5.

Shawn Dubin, from the book series of drawings An Untimely Endeavor.

By some mysterious process that I don’t quite get, he had a show up for Halloween weekend at TRUST, and put up an an array of about 75 drawings and paintings, all of them about 6 or 8 inches. A nice crowd of folks showed up, and Shawn’s in-laws made some swell food, a cut above the usual art opening fare.

Shawn Dubin, from An Untimely Endeavor, ink

The standout work was entitled The Untimely Endeavor, a series of about 50 ink drawings that tell the story of a skeletal lighthouse keeper who goes searching around the world for his friend, a sad shrunken head. Some of the stylized drawings work as stand-alone cartoons, many of them showing the lighthouse keeper exploring foreign lands. And some of them are beautiful, cosmic allbeit cartoony, images of man against nature.

Shawn Dubin, Aunt Beatrice: Having once dreamt of being a great playwrite (sic.), taught the fourth grade. Watercolor on board.

Another favorite of mine was a class picture of goofy kids and teachers with an Addams family goth vibe–part of a series of watercolor on board family portraits. We all have class pictures with all the peculiar classmates and awful-looking adults. I get a sense that the family portraits, many of which seem inspired by classic movies (there’s a Cary Grant dead-ringer in a smoking jacket), will eventually turn into another book.

Shawn Dubin (right, in black of course) looking happy at his show, with my son Alex Dubin (also looking happy).

The imagined family, the misfit in search for friendship, the lost goth souls with their kitschy lovability who do not fit in ordinary society–Shawn has limitless wellsprings for this work, which this year showed its face with the ghosts and goblins in time for Halloween. Honestly, Shawn himself looks pretty happy!

Shawn’s blog is here, and I have a set on Flickr with more of my family!