Michael Shapcott




Work in Progress (Graphite Underdrawing)
Work in Progress (Graphite)

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of seeing into the future. Ultimately I feel that we are the creators of our own destiny but also that there is this mystery and force that is greater than ourselves simultaneously at work. It’s no doubt that our choices and actions help to create our future but how much is left to fate or to the great threads that link all of our lives into one? Perhaps most intriguing, is there a way to tap into and obtain a glimpse of what can or will happen to us?

Michael Shapcott at work on The Death of CrystallinaWith these questions and ideas in mind, I decided to create this visual story of a girl who traveled a long distance and overcame many challenges to obtain an ancient power to see into the future. Instead of a crystal ball, her tool is an actual crystal which she retrieved from this rocky and violent mountain landscape. The painting image is the point where she rests with her hard-won prize and is unexpectedly shown a major shift in her life’s course, a big change like the one often depicted in the death card from tarot decks.

The girl in the painting is named Crystallina. I found it fitting not only because her power comes from a crystal but because of an interesting personal story… A few years back, my fiance and I decided it’d be fun to go to a psychic. During my session, the woman reading me looked at me and super-seriously said something like, “When you’re painting, there is a spirit around you helping you. Her name is Crys… Crysta… Crystal… CRYSTALLINA!”  I didn’t really know what to think. I remember part of me found it funny (a “bull s!@#” might have ran through my mind) but another part of me was intrigued by the idea of this spirit helping me paint and maybe working through me somehow.

The Death of Crystallina by Michael Shapcott

The Death of Crystallina (detail) by Michael Shapcott

Death of Crystallina (framed) by Michael Shapcott

The Death of Crystallina
24″ x 36″
Graphite/Acrylic/Oil on Canvas

This piece will be exhibited alongside many other talented up-and-coming artists at Thinkspace Gallery’s Picks of the Harvest 2012 show opening March 3rd and on view through March 24th in Culver City, CA. It’s an amazing line-up so if you can make it out in person, do it! If you’d like to see a preview of the show, visit Thinkspace’s sneak peek HERE. The complete lineup is listed below (click to enlarge).

Picks of the Harvest 2012 at Thinkspace


  • Comment by Lia Elliott — February 27, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    this new painting is amazing! (: you are such an amazing painter.

  • Comment by Jardley — March 2, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    What struck me the most right away was the almost caricature like form with the larger head and small frame. Sometimes I get frustrated when I realize that’s how I drew a person, after taking a step back, but your painting really worked for me.

    I especially love the left hand, how it’s painted how it’s drawn.

    I don’t think the girl looks too much like a girl per se, in the face she does look about fourteen but I think because we get more of her body parts than we would had it been in equal proportion to the face, she looks more like a woman to me.

  • Pingback by Michael Shapcott: Piercing Gazes « Global Art Junkie — June 4, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    [...] Portrait artist Michael Shapcott has a huge portfolio of exquisite faces, and now is doing a year of one-work-a-day for 365 days. He’s helping raise money to for a full-length drawing/painting tutorial via Kickstarter.  Above: Detail from The Death of Cyrstallina, for a show in California. (See the full size painting, and the story behind it, here.) [...]

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