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Richard Shaw


B. 1941

Richard Shaw was born in Hollywood in 1941 and raised by an artist mother and a Walt Disney cartoonist father. By the 1960s, Shaw moved to northern California to attend the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Davis, where he studied ceramics and received his bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts degrees. Over many decades he has perfected his plaster molds and developed an array of techniques to create perfectly cast porcelain figures, hand-built and thrown clay objects, and overglaze transfer decals – a method he adapted from silk-screening processes. 

Shaw skillfully combines the stuff of daily life into whimsical still lifes that appropriate mass culture while drawing on personal experiences and memories. Shaw states, “The human aspect of the still life or assemblage acts as a person memorializing their identity using the objects from their personal narrative. The narrative itself reveals their tastes, pastimes, intellectual pursuits, sins, habits (good and bad), obsessions, etc.”

Humor and irreverence play a significant role in Shaw’s work, as he inserts meaning just below the beguiling surfaces of his sculptures. His exacting application of decals and glazing results in trompe-l’oeil (French for “fool the eye”) sculptures that, according to former San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Curator Suzanne Foley, walk “the imaginative edge of the delightful and the absurd, with just the right amount of restraint to command elegance.” 

Throughout his illustrious career, Richard Shaw has worked with other prominent ceramists, including Robert Arneson, Robert Hudson, Ron Nagle, and others. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions since 1967, and his work is included in major museum collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Shaw also taught ceramics at U.C. Berkeley for over 30 years, retiring at age 80 in 2021.


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.