Devan Shimoyama is a visual artist working primarily in portraiture and narratives inspired by classical mythology and allegory. Shimoyama seeks to depict the black queer male body as something that is both desirable and desirous. He explores the mystery and magic in the process of understanding his origins and also investigates the politics of queer culture. His work showcases the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality. Shimoyama’s composition is inspired by the canons of the masters Caravaggio and Goya, though adding a more contemporary expression and sensuality. With the usage of various materials: jewels, stencils, black glitter, rhinestones, and sequins, Shimoyama creates pieces that capture the magical spirit of human beings. Shimoyama is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA.
Shimoyama was born in 1989 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State University in 2011 with a BFA in Drawing/Painting before obtaining his MFA at Yale University School of Art in 2014. He was awarded the Al Held Fellowship at the Yale School of Art in 2013 and has had a residency at the 2015 Fire Island Artist Residency. Shimoyama’s work has been exhibited throughout America in both solo and group exhibitions and is held in the permanent collection of The Pérez Art Museum Miami. Recently, his exhibition Cry, Baby was presented at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh from October 13, 2018 – March 17, 2019. Shimoyama’s new and existing work was paired with a rotation of Warhol's Ladies and Gentlemen paintings from 1974, revealing new perspectives on Warhol's practice, embracing contemporary debates about identity politics, gender and sexuality in addition to issues of racial violence and tension in the United States.