Friday, April 17, 2009
It is truly with a heavy heart that we must break the news that one of our inspirator, photographer SHAWN MORTENSEN, passed away last nite. A kinetic force of optimism and seemingly limitless positive energy, Shawn’s hearty career as a photojournalist and artist took him around the world several times over, unselfishly spreading his endless supply of good vibes as he went. Particularly renowned for his portraits of musicians, artists, and entertainers, Shawn photographed a stunning array of pop culture demigods in his 20+ year career including Keith Haring, Tupac, Henry Rollins, James Brown, The Notorious BIG, Bjork, Jun Takahashi, Leo Fitzpatrick, Christopher Wool, Mark Gonzales, Ed Ruscha, Vivienne Westwood, The Bad Brains, Dash Snow, Grandmaster Flash, Neil Young, MIA, John Lee Hooker, Nigo, Sofia Coppola, Agnes B., Sonic Youth, The Beastie Boys, Keith Richards, Chloe Sevigny, The Foo Fighters, Everlast, Kraftwerk, Wu Tang Clan, and The Sex Pistols, to name but a few. Shawn was also a successful commercial photographer who worked with clients like SUPREME and NIKE, and publications like VIBE, and I-D Magazine, where his streetwise eye was a highly prized commodity. Within the artistic community of his homeland of Los Angeles, Mortensen was a local legend whose constant presence at weekly art openings was a staple of the scene, his favorite Polaroid camera always in hand. At the time of his death, 43-year-old Mortensen was working on a series of new artwork titled “M.O.R.= Monsters!, Outlaws, & Renegades” set to debut at SPACE15TWENTY in Los Angeles in June of this year, and a collaborative photo-based T-Shirt line with Hollywood fashion brand BARRACUDA. Our hearts go out to Shawn’s family during this difficult time. Needless to say, Shawn may be gone, but he will not be forgotten. For newcomers to Shawn’s work, his excellent book, “Out of Mind” is a must-have reference.
Posted by Talk at 2:02 PM