As part of our ongoing Artist Exposé, we are stoked to introduce you to Shawn Bichsel…
About Me: My current passions are Fly Fishing and the art that its beauty, simplicity and sheer frustration inspires. I’m a self prescribed “Nonconformist / Geospatial Practitioner / Fly Fisher” (not necessarily in that order) … And these things too – I’m a husband to a wonderful wife that allows me to pursue whatever interest I may venture into. A 2 dog dad, one is blind and deaf, but is full of spirit, drive and determination. I’m a non-traditionalist fly-fisher, I get outside and wet a fly whenever possible, in places you would never think to look, using flies you would never think to fish. Drawing fish and flies is my outlet, when fly fishing is not an option. I also like to bike, hike, travel, drink Shiner Beer and Dr Pepper, eat fine Texas BBQ and Tex-Mex food and go ramble out “yonder” whenever possible.
Do you fly fish and if so, what is your favourite species to catch? I do fly fish, though not as often as I used to. It seems that becoming an artist that focuses on their passion as a subject for their art, has a tendency to lose sight of what got them started in the first place. I live in the Central part of Texas, were we are limited to only one tail water trout stream, and that stream is almost 100 miles from my house. It’s a great river, full of natural beauty and stocked with trout during the winter months. I do break away from the daily grind a couple of days a year to fish it. Besides that, we are blessed with some amazing warm water fisheries closer to home, where we can throw flies at bass, sunfish, catfish and carp all year-long. (that’s right, I said catfish and all year-long) My favourite species is a fish called the Rio Grande Cichlid, they are a beautiful fish, limited in geographic range, and happen to thrive in abundance around here. The first time you catch one, you’ll think you just pulled it out of your friends aquarium…they are that beautiful.
Which came first, the fishing or the art? The fly fishing came before the art as I know it today. I was very artistic in school, but I didn’t pick up a pencil again, to portray the beauty of this sport, until a few years after I threw my first fly with a fly rod.
What is your favourite subject to paint / draw? I started with crude sketches of fish, they were quick and dirty, put people responded well to them. From there I started drawing flies, more fish, then more flies, and then more fish…So, you might say flies and fish. You’ll notice that I don’t paint much with actual paint brushes, most of my “paintings” are digital. My wife tells me all the time that my painting skills really suck, that’s ok though, because she’s right, she’s always right! I’m more comfortable with a jig saw or carving knife in my hand than a paint brush anyway!
Tell us about your greatest inspiration? The tag line for my website, www.sbixel.com is “Fly Fishing and the Art it inspires.” I find my greatest inspiration after spending hours on the river, when the idea of fishing – to simply catch fish – passes, and I stop to focus on the natural beauty that water creates. From the fish, to the trees, to the water, to the gear I am using to interact with it…Inspiration abounds, if you just stop to look for it!
Your ideal fly-fishing destination? A free-flowing trout stream in my backyard would be nice, but I don’t have one! I don’t really put a lot of time into dreaming about my ideal fly fishing destination. Give me a stream that holds fish, a fly rod, and a friend to share the experience with, and I’m good! I don’t believe a trip to Andros to catch bonefish, or Kamchatka to chase giant trout would make me as happy as spending 4 hours on a stream, that is a short bike ride from my house. Fish when and wherever you can!
Where would you locate your dream studio and whom would you invite around for a drink? A studio somewhere in the foot hills of the American, Rocky Mountains would be ideal for me. And anyone that is willing to bring the beer, whisky and lies, would be welcome to stop by at any time!
Would you get a tattoo of your own work? I’m ink free and plan on staying that way. I have art on more than one person’s body though. In all honesty, it’s daunting for me to be asked for a tattoo design…you just can’t throw this things away like a painting or a sculpture!
Where can readers purchase your work?