Sean Edward Whelan is a self-taught artist who engages in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture and digital animation to create his vibrant surrealist pieces.
After honing his own craft, Whelan studied graphic design at the University of Tasmania, where his interest in experimental computer-generated graphics and art birthed his early inspirations as a Fine Arts undergraduate student.
Graduating in 2002, he entered the local design industry and began working as an illustrator and animator eventually moving to Japan in 2005 to broaden his artistic prowess and hone his craft to gain greater mastery about how art made its way from eastern traditions into Western consciousness. Inspired, Sean began leveraging his design and illustration skills to pursue his own artistic practice, holding his first solo exhibition of self-directed artwork in regional Japan in 2008.
Over this period, Sean expanded his repertoire of techniques and subjects of interest, creating intricate artworks in pencil, traditional ink and watercolour with a focus on process and structure, analysing subjects immediate to his experience to more imaginative and expressive territories using vibrant acrylic on canvas, drawing on wider human experience, popular philosophy and contemporary social commentary in a colourful and accessible way.
Whelan’s subjectivity is one where anything is possible. He fervours futuristic realms that are anchored in a creative idea that can be challenging in the physical because their idiosyncrasy may seem more befitting in the energetic realm of infinite possibilities than in the concrete of tangible experience. It takes time to translate the artist’s work, as if molecule by molecule, as an ephemeral idea in your own imagination, existing first as pure energy then merging to a more static object or structure that exists in the three-dimensional world through Whelan’s interpretations.
Sean Edward Whelan has held a number of solo exhibitions and has participated in various group shows in Japan, the U.S., U.K. and Australia since 2008, and is currently working on a new body of work for an upcoming exhibition featuring in 2022.
2021 ‘Tension Point’ Honey Bones Gallery, Black Art Projects, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2018 ‘in the spirit of the age’ Neospace Gallery, Black Art Projects, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2014 ‘A-Z’ Gallery Urukiyo, Joetsu City, Niigata, JAPAN
2013 ‘Playing Statues’ Cake Wines Pop- Up, Black Art Projects, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2011 ‘Visitor’ No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2010 ‘Sean Edward Whelan’ RitoruRaifu Mote, Joetsu City, Niigata, JAPAN
2008 ‘Atypical’ Shimin Plaza Gallery, Joetsu City, Niigata, JAPAN
2021 ‘This One’s for You’ Melting Pot, Birmingham, UK
2020 ‘Locals’ Outré Gallery, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2019 ‘Southerns’ The All Story, Newcastle, AUSTRALIA
2017 ‘London Sketch Festival 2017’ The Archivist, London, UK
2016 ‘F(L)ight’ Bristol, UK
2014 ‘Postcard Exhibition’ Spacewomb, New York, US
2014 ‘Thank You Art’ Studio Zero, Myoko City, Niigata, JAPAN
2014 ‘Hikaritokage’ 0fr Tokyo, Tokyo, JAPAN
2013 ‘Cake Wines 2013 Archi-Bottle Award’ Sydney, AUSTRALIA
2013 ‘Thank You Art’ Studio Zero. Myoko City, Niigata, JAPAN
2013 ‘Art on Paper’ Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
2012 ‘100 Houses’ The Tobacco Factory, Bristol, UK
2012 ‘Thank You Art’ Studio Zero, Myoko City, Niigata, JAPAN
2012 ‘Monster Show 7’ Domy Books, Austin, Texas, US
2011 ‘Monster Show 6’ Domy Books, Austin, Texas, US
2011 ‘One Hundred’ Black Art Projects, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2011 ‘Thank You Art’ Studio Zero, Myoko City, Niigata, JAPAN
2009 ‘Reunite & Transmute X Ghostpatrol’ No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2018 Diemen Creative Industry Awards, Finalist
2013 Art on Paper, Hazelhurst Art Award, Finalist
2013 Cake Wines 2013 Archi-Bottle Award, Grand Prize
2017 Cover Illustration, Wine & Spirits (Feb 2018 edition)
2016 Augmented Reality/Animation. Stuart Campbell & Prosthetic, Reality http://www.sutueatsflies.com/
2011 Character Design/Storyboarding, Ewan Macleod & Deerhoof, Secret Mobilization Video