Camera Obscura’s Studio Artist Residency program brings a breath of fresh air with new Studio Artists Resident, Shannon Freshwater.

The Camera Obscura Residency program connects the public with artist and artisans working within and between the worlds of fine art and craft.

Artists in residence share their work with the public informally and through workshops and master classes. Artists Shannon Freshwater will host her first event on August 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., entitled “Intro to Illustration”.

Freshwater said, “I am honored and excited to share my work and process at the Camera Obscura! I hope I am able to create interest and inspire the community.”

Her residency will focus on creating a series of strong women characters through the use of folk art and crafts techniques that could be classified as traditional woman crafts. This would include bead work, and weaving.

She hopes to engage the community and show the public her love and passion for art. In fact Freshwater feels creativity was engraved in her from the beginning.

“My father is an artist so I grew up stealing his supplies and making my own things at a very early age. I grew up attending art openings and museums, going to drawing workshops, and pouring over art books. I never really thought I would be anything other than an artist,” said Freshwater.

Freshwater will also continue to work on a collection of 2D and 3D sculptures and costumes that incorporate discarded toys, jewelry, blankets and other items from local thrift stores into embellishing characters and costumes.

However, there is something different about Freshwater. She is working to inspire and empower woman.

Freshwater will show off the art of warrior costumes and she explains these costumes are about freedom and power and are meant to be worn by women even if they may not keep the traditional form of a woman.

“There is a certain freedom when wearing a costume where your physical presence is obscured and you become anonymous,” said Freshwater. “You can become someone or something else, someone more powerful than yourself and it can also be a physical representation of the power you feel internally but are not outwardly recognized for.”

She explains girls are continuously told to be small, fragile, quiet, agreeable, and polite. These are all the things Freshwater struggles with in my everyday life and she is striving to work against in her artwork.

“My characters and costumes are what I aspire to be, and the process of creating them is therapeutic and empowering,” said Freshwater.

Many people who go to Camera Obscura are looking to create something new, and unique however attending a workshop held by Freshwater individuals could come out with a new perspective on woman empowerment.

“As a woman, I suppose I am an advocate although that title seems to have a lot of pressure and authority attached to it,” said Freshwater. She does not claim to have all the answers concerning women’s rights and being a spokeswoman doesn’t interest her. However, she does feel confident in reflecting on her own personal feelings and letting that show through her art work.

At the end of day she hopes she can use her personal understanding of the world and her life experience to assemble a creation that speaks to her world view and personality.

Her residency will run through November 11. This will also be her last presentation from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura Lab Studio Artist Residency program is run by the City’s Cultural Affairs Division. The Camera Obscura is located in Palisades Park between Broadway and Santa Monica.

Below is a list of workshops hosted by Freshwater. For more information visit .


Intro to Illustration – Saturday 8/12, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Character Collage – Saturday 8/19, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Collagraph Portraits – Saturday 8/26, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Natural Loom Weaving – Saturday 9/2, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Xerox Transfer Printing – Saturday 9/9, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Memory Jug Creation – Saturday 9/16, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Creating a Repeating Pattern – Saturday 9/23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Foam Relief Printing – Saturday 9/30, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Hot Glue Relief Printing – Saturday 10/7, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Making Ojos de Dios – Saturday 10/14, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cardboard Maskmaking – Saturday 10/21, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Foil Embossing – Saturday 10/28, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Collaborative Drawing – Saturday 11/4, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Shannon Freshwater Final Presentation – Saturday 11/11, 3 – 7 p.m.