The Uncommon Familiar: Shaun Kardinal

3 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on April 23, 2012 and got a huge bump thanks to being featured on the Freshly Pressed WordPress feature.  Enjoy!

Do you have any idea how bummed I was to miss out on Shaun Kardinal’s show, Connotations, while we were in Seattle?  So very very bummed.  But time was not my friend on this trip.  Two half-days and only one full day just isn’t enough to fit in time with friends, every gallery show I wanted to see and one on one time with the hubby.  But I know I’ll be back and I have a feeling Shaun’s work is going to continue gaining ground while I’m gone.

Connotation No. 18, hand-embroidered paper collage, 9.75×6.5

Kardinal increases the complexity of his collages with this new series.  Beginning with a foundation of vintage ephemera, he embroiders each piece with a geometrically intricate design carefully placed to compliment the retro imagery.

Connotation No. 25, hand-embroidered paper collage, 9×6

Kardinal’s work feels like sophisticated folk art and I mean that in the best possible way!  It is approachable, yet thoughtful.  Highly designed using common materials.  Love.

Connotation No. 24, hand-embroidered paper collage, 11.75×11.75

Connotation No. 19, hand-embroidered paper collage, 9.25×8.25

To see more of Shaun Kardinal’s work, please visit his website.  If you’re in Seattle, do what I couldn’t– go see his Connotations show at Joe Bar Cafe.

Featured image is Connotation No. 2, hand-embroidered paper collage, 11×11.  All images are via the artist’s website.

87 Responses to “The Uncommon Familiar: Shaun Kardinal”

  1. aviatrixkim April 25, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    What a great find! So glad you shared this.

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Glad you enjoyed Shaun’s work! Did you have a fave?


      • aviatrixkim April 25, 2012 at 8:38 am #

        I think the suspension bridge snagged my attention the most. It’s the one I remembered best after I left the page. What with all the sweeping grandiosity and all. 🙂

        By the way, you’re about to get about 15,000 page hits in the next couple of days. Enjoy!

        • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 8:48 am #

          Great choice! I think my fave is the other bridge– I love the composition and juxtaposition of colors.

          Wow– how I am getting that many hits? 😉 I’m already seeing an increase in traffic this morning. Do tell!

          • aviatrixkim April 25, 2012 at 8:50 am #

            You’re on Freshly Pressed, the daily WordPress “best of” collection. Just happened to me two days ago. (Mine is the cat photo, titled “On Working.”) 16,000 hits later…

            Crazy, but fun.

            • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 8:58 am #

              I just figured that out. 😉 This is my second go-round being on FP– it does make for a whirlwind few days, doesn’t it? Congrats on your FP, I’ve been away for a few days, but will check out your blog!

              • aviatrixkim April 25, 2012 at 9:01 am #

                Same here. And both times, FP seemed to be driven by a photo of my cat. (She’s undeniably cute.) That’s the Interwebs for ya.

  2. Carlie Chew April 25, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Wow, great work! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to catching his show.

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      Are you in Seattle, Carlie? I hope you can see it! Report back when you do, if you’d like. 😉


      • Lauren Pauline April 25, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        Darn it, nope I live in Tampa : (. Do you know if the show is posted online anywhere?

  3. thomaswrites April 25, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Great! Thanks for exposing my culturally-ignorant self to this form of art, I really enjoyed it 🙂

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it, Thomas! I truly believe that for everyone, there is a type of art that will “speak” to them. Hope you check back for more, you’ll be an art afficionado ( sp? ) in no time!


  4. Mikalee Byerman April 25, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Such beautiful work…the “movement” in the bridge piece is incredible…love how it draws your eyes in.


    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it, Mikalee! Welcome to Artsy Forager!

  5. skirting boards April 25, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Amazing work! Loved it 🙂

  6. Valerie (all mussed up) April 25, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Can I just shine the spotlight away from the art and onto you for a moment? I am totally digging the groovy colour scheme you have going on!

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      Haha.. thanks, Valerie! I loved the color scheme when I first started the blog last year, but I’m in the process of coming up with a redesign so that the background is a bit more neutral. 😉 The turquoise will still be incorporated though– my favorite color and you’ll definitely see it pop up in much of the artwork featured.


  7. Money and Business Plan April 25, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Great find!

  8. Katie Raspberry April 25, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Very interesting absolutelyloved the post!


    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks for visitng, Katie!

  9. thebigbookofdating April 25, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    This is so creative and wonderful!

  10. Jason Ministries April 25, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Amazing; I’ve never encountered such art. Are there other artists in this genre?

  11. gooddeedaday April 25, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Love suspension bridges in general, so very cool to see one used for art, thanks for sharing!

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks for stopping by! I share your affection for bridges. 😉


  12. kinetikat April 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    These are great, a really left-field use of vintage photos, embroidery and geometrics – often, as you say, with an almost classical-folk motif thing going on. Fab stuff, thanks for sharing it! And congrats on the FP! Just one thing – any idea what size these pieces are?

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi kinetikat!
      The sizes are listed in inches in the caption under each image. Glad you like Shaun’s work!


  13. Claudia April 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Woah, those are really cool! Detailed yet simple. 🙂

  14. angelique523 April 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    I really appreciated the way you described the work as “approachable yet thoughtful” because I am completely fascinated with this work. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to something new and beautiful today. Excellent blogging.

  15. tshirtlegend34 April 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Great post. Definitely an interesting read.
    We’re giving away free t-shirts. Check it out today at…

  16. unsouthernbelle April 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I really found his work fascinating. Thank you for introducing us.

    • Lesley April 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. katleenj April 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    The fact of seeing structures in the landscape or in a nice view you have, is something that hits me walking around. He found a very creative way to show them!

  18. ashee April 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm #


  19. dreamz infra April 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    awesome it very much

  20. dreamzinfragreat April 26, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    nice post..good article

  21. eighteenthousand April 26, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Reblogged this on eighteenthousand.

    • Lesley April 26, 2012 at 7:16 am #

      Thanks for reblogging! 🙂


  22. Dean Whitehorn artblogs April 26, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    As a first time visitor, congrats on a great blog site promoting a great variety of artists and genres. Sean’s work is a particularly interesting use of materials creating visual interest! keep up the blogging!

    • Lesley April 26, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Dean! Promoting interesting work by talented artists is my passion, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the site & Shaun’s work. Hope to see you again!


  23. ivanjerrickkoh April 26, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I like the bridge.

  24. midnitechef April 26, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    These are interesting… never seen anything like it!
    Kudos for FP!

    • Lesley April 26, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed Shaun’s work!


  25. J Rankin April 26, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Thanks for sharing Shaun’s work. Fantastic. My fave is the bridge. The top part makes the symbol for the Akhet, but the hole in the circle is pure genius!

    • Lesley April 26, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      That is a fantastic observation, J! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your favorite and what you see. Hope you enjoy the blog!


      • J Rankin April 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

        I am, and I will stop by again.

  26. Richard McCargar April 26, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Lovely post, and congratulations on your freshly pressed!

    • Lesley April 26, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks so much, Richard! Glad you enjoyed Shaun’s work.


  27. Constance V. Walden April 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Interesting artwork. Unique ideas. Connie

  28. lindalind April 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Cool art! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  29. Musings, random. April 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Great works! Thanks for sharing.

  30. flats in bangalore for sale April 27, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    very creative ..
    thanks for sharing .
    and i think its a best blog on wordpress.

  31. dreamzinfra April 27, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    As a first time visitor, congrats on a great blog site promoting a great variety of artists and genres. Sean’s work is a particularly interesting use of materials creating visual interest! keep up the blogging!

  32. Aidyearts April 27, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    oh this is cool photos 😀

  33. lijiujiu April 27, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Great find and beautiful pics.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  34. segmation April 27, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    What nice choide of colors and mixed media! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Saudi Prices Blog April 28, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    great and beautifull

  36. Like Q. | Best Quotes April 28, 2012 at 8:17 am #


  37. AbbyEscArt April 28, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    This is really cool. I love the combination of photography and embroidery.

    • Lesley April 28, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Glad you enjoyed Shaun’s work! Thanks for visiting, Abby!


  38. Homeward Bound and Messing Around April 28, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Cool! This makes me want to visit Seattle even more.

    • Lesley April 28, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      My favorite city! Do visit if you can and make sure you have plenty of time to explore!


      • Homeward Bound and Messing Around April 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

        I plan to! My husband goes there often for work and has only good things to say about it. I would definitely need at least a week to check it out 🙂

  39. Fabricio M. Oiwa da Costa April 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on Filosofia, Mente e Fabricio!.

  40. princessofthejellyfish April 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    It’s really surprisingly beautiful.

  41. mongrelcitizen April 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    This art is interesting and brings geometical shapes overtly into relationship with the “naturalism” of photographs of architectural structures and reminds us of all sorts of things, hidden and not so hidden.

  42. Three Men & A Red Head April 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on Open Kitchen.

    • Lesley April 29, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks for reblogging! 🙂


  43. sheepgomoo April 29, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Ugh! I love his stuff so much it hurts- the use of geometry, found imagery, embroidery- this dude has combined all my favorite visual things. I first heard about him over on, but this was a great reminder.

    Great site overall, btw, it’s made it into my ‘to visit daily’ bookmark toolbar!

    • Lesley April 29, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Glad you share my love for Shaun’s work and enjoyed the blog! I first saw his work through another of his fellow artists, though I’m also a fan of The Jealous Curator blog. 😉

      Hope to see you around the blog!

  44. girltherapy April 29, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I had never heard of Shaun Kardinal and thus was unfamiliar with his works prior to coming across your blog. I checked out his website and love the embroidery pics. I remember doing something similar with some kids when I worked as a Nanny but clearly nothing like Shaun’s. I may even try it myself – would be good when I need to block myself out of a photo:)

    • Lesley April 29, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Haha.. love your idea of using to enhance unflattering photos! Glad you found the blog!


  45. Lauren Michelle April 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    What an amazing artist. Sorry you missed the show, but thanks for the spreading the word!

    • Lesley April 30, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Glad you enjoyed his work, Lauren!


  46. minithingy April 30, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Hello! Great article and really awesme blog keep the good work 🙂
    I would like to share with you one of my project about the word emotion!

    1-Click on this link :

    2- “appreciate it” by clicking on the blue icon at the bottom of the page!

    It’s part of a university project and my grade depends of the clicks and votes!
    Please help me! thank you!

    Great work again !

  47. geordiesgirl April 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    totally inspiring!

  48. May 1, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    symetrical wonderful

  49. christopherduncanart May 1, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Reblogged this on Christopher Duncan and commented:
    Interesting stuff here!

  50. Niki, unifiedspace May 2, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    That’s very cool work, really enjoyed the post, thanks.


  1. Friday Faves: String Theory « Artsy Forager - June 1, 2012

    […] may remember the fabulous work of Shaun Kardinal, featured a few months ago.  I was completely smitten by his technique of combining found materials and embroidered elements […]

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