Artist Interview: Shane McClatchey

Many artists have that natural talent for creativity and expression at a pretty young age. Shane McClatchey is no different. He began drawing as a grom and hasn’t stopped. Originally from the Bronx in NYC, Shane McClatchey moved to the Jersey Shore as a youngster and grew up at Spring Lake Beach. Now at 18 years old and a senior in high school, he is getting ready to make the transition into art school next year. But being an artist doesn’t just stop at the tip of the pencil for Shane. He is also a musician, playing in a band called The Irie Sound, which will be releasing an album in June. With a desire to keep learning and possibly share what he has learned by being a teacher, Shane’s bright future will no doubt continue to be influenced by the ocean.

How did you get involved in art? Are you going to art school, is there someone who is helping you learn new techniques? Or just doing it on your own?

I have been drawing as far back as I can remember. I don’t remember not drawing. I took some classes when I was little which gave me the chance to experiment with different mediums. Right now I’m still in high school taking as many art classes as I can. But most of what I have learned is self-taught, bringing a sketchpad everywhere I go helps, whether drawing some landscapes in cool places or drawing people on a train or in an airport.

Being only 18 years old, where do you see yourself going? Is art a hobby or do you intend to make something more of it?

Next year I plan on going to Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach. It’d be cool to get a job doing art in the surf industry but I’m thinking about being a high school art teacher too…as long as I have some art-related career where I don’t have to take myself too seriously.

What mediums do you work with? What do you feel are your strengths at this point? And what do you want to explore?

I really like drawing with charcoal because it’s dark and natural looking. I also paint a lot of surfboards with paint markers, which is a lot of fun. And I’ve been painting a lot of murals lately at restaurants and friends houses. I’m currently working on my 5th mural in my school. I print my own t-shirts using block prints that I carve out which gives the shirts a really authentic look to them. I sell them locally and kids wear them around school. I want to explore oil paint a lot more. I’m just starting to get into trying to paint things with a more realistic feel to switch it up a bit.

What is the intention of your artwork? What are you trying to convey to your viewer?

There’s not too much intention to my artwork, I’m not trying to send any deep messages or anything but I think it’s cool when people find their own meanings in my work. I make art about things that inspire me, art is a great way to express yourself. It just kinda shows my story and what means a lot to me.

Do you feel as though your art would be the same without surfing? In other words, how do you feel that your artwork and surfing are connected?

My art wouldn’t really be the same without surfing, drawing waves in my notebooks at school quickly became as addicting as surfing itself. Surfing affects my art a lot, and sometimes my art will affect my surfing. I think the best surfers are the ones that can draw the best lines on a wave. I guess that makes us all artists. Surfing has made me much more aware about nature in general which always finds its way into my drawings and paintings which is nice. It keeps it all nice and mellow and not too flashy.

And just for fun…now that the TV show Jersey Shore has polluted minds all over the world, what is your take on the New Jersey scene? Can you describe the surf scene in your area?

Ha ha. It’s funny to see those places right near where I live on TV. Everyone around here seems to spot the “people” on that show now and then in the summer. As any New Jersey surfer would tell you, a small supply of good consistent waves makes some dedicated surfers. Paddling out with icicles on your face in the winter makes you appreciate the waves. And I’m starting to notice that everyone kinda knows everyone if you’re here long enough which is cool. Jersey has a unique vibe and good people, I love growing up here.

For more of Shane’s work, check out

And for some of Shane’s tunes, check out


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