When asked about her favorite artists, Sharon Shapiro can’t help but get a wee bit academic—dropping analytical remarks about Frida Kahlo’s ironic symbolism, Lucian Freud’s complex figurations, and—explored herein—Wayne Thiebaud’s exploration of the mundane (think cupcakes, lipstick, cafeteria utensils). As an accomplished painter in her own right, Shapiro may know her share of art methods and theory. But when it comes to Thiebaud’s enticing works, her thoughts take on a different kind of depth. —Lucie Alig
What is it you admire about Thiebaud?
His paintings are warm and gently comic without being ironic or complicated. Through his constant experimentation with brushstrokes, color, composition, light, and shadow, Thiebaud creates depth in the best sense. I am also in awe of the fact that he is 92 years old, and continues to paint on an almost daily basis.
Do your kids enjoy the works?
My daughter Ryan has never seen a work in person, but she has looked at his paintings over the years both in books and online. She loves his sense of color and affinity for pattern, and has said that his confection-based works are what inspired her interest in baking. Cupcakes are her new passion, which is great for the rest of us at home!
Do you have any favorite works by the artist?
I would have to pick two: Cakes (1963) and Girl with Ice Cream Cone, of the same year. Both of these images play on nostalgia and longing, two themes that I often engage in my own works. Thiebaud can take the most innocuous content—like a girl about to eat an ice cream cone—and develop it into an image you won’t soon forget.