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 Eric Shenker  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: New Jersey      Known for: scratchboard-allegory, dry point

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Eric Shenker
An example of work by Eric Shenker
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist, February 2003. His studio is in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Born January 7, 1948, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Eric Shenker is recognized for his scratch board drawings,and dry-point etchings,emerging in 2002 under the influence of photographer,Robert Altman.

Shenker's work is a transition from Surrealism. He apprenticed during high school and college with his father, commercial artist Lee Shenker, who owned a sign and banner company. Formally educated at the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia and taking night courses in print making at the Philadelphia College of Art, Lee Shenker studied with Bill Crawford, Bill Sauder and Oliver Grimley.

Eric Shenker's sister, Stephanie,a children's book illustrator and fashion designer in New York, mentored his artistic talent. Shenker has monochromatic colorblindness seeing only yellow and a full range of gray scale. This is likely why he became interesting in doing black and white compositions.Hussian School of Art, allowed Shenker to work in black and white

Colorblindness was not a problem, having won all of the student competitions that he entered. In 1971 while in his early 20s, he opened Eric Shenker Originals gallery in Philadelphia and exhibited his work along with that of local and regional artists. A strong influence was Salvadore Dali who visited the gallery in 1972, purchasing a color tinted scratch board entitled,"Galactic Prayer," Shenker views this purchase as a turning point in his inspiration.

Prolific and hardworking, doing numerous scratch boards, worked from morning until late at night on each piece, 200 to 300 hours of studio time each, Shenker also met and was influenced by, Gilroy Roberts, designer of President Kennedy's portrait on the US Half Dollar. Mr.Robert's purchased two of Shenker's allegorical scratch boards, a first of any artist purchase by Mr. Robert outside his large collection of the artist, "Spruance".

One of Shenker's last shows at his gallery was for his sister's (Stevie's) illustrations. Stevie died of breast cancer one year later, and his Father,Lee Shenker died of a fatal heart attack one year after that. Eric's loss both,artistically and emotionally, brought on a depression and career altering absence that lasted until a resumption of spirit in the late 1980s.

He is currently collaborating with former Rolling Stone Magazine photography chief, Robert Altman. A major etching on Claybord entitled,"Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil", is a depiction of The Rolling Stones in a redo of Leonardo's "Last Supper."

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