Early Years

Born in America in 1950, Donald M. Sheridan was a self-titled ‘Navy brat’.  He went on to study psychiatry in college where he quickly discovered that he preferred a more artistic lifestyle, and at just eighteen, Sheridan began to practice the fine art of silkscreen print-making.  In 1977 he started working with the renowned printmaker Rupert Jasen Smith, the preferred Master Printmaker of the American Pop artist, Andy Warhol. The six years that followed were to be the most formative of Sheridan’s artistic career.

The University of Andy

Between 1977 and 1982 Sheridan perfected his screenprinting technique, collaborating with Warhol to make many of the Pop artist’s most famous graphic artworks. Sheridan reflected on how reverentially Warhol acknowledged the talent of Smith’s studio team and recalls the moment when walking into his exhibition Portraits of the Seventies at the Whitney Museum with Sheridan and Smith in November 1979, Warhol turned to them and exclaimed: ‘What a nice show you boys have here!... Make them pretty’.  Sheridan fondly refers to this period of his career as the ‘University of Andy’ and considers himself ‘the heir’ to many of Warhol’s greatest printmaking secrets, and it is with sincere gratitude that the artist dedicates his oeuvre ‘To Andy’.

David McCabe photographing Andy Warhol working on a silkscreen printing at The Factory. Photo © David McCabe
Mona Lisa by Donald M. Sheridan
Mona Lisa by Donald M. Sheridan
Mona Lisa by Donald M. Sheridan
Mona Lisa by Donald M. Sheridan

The 1980s

In 1984, after two years at the studio of fellow printmaker Larry B. Wright where Sheridan printed editions by artists including Robert Rauschenberg and Larry Poons, ‘Donald M. Sheridan Fine Arts’ was established at a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The idea of creating his own art for exhibition had never occurred to Sheridan, instead he was deeply focused on inspiring and educating other contemporary artists in fine art printmaking to create their own editioned artworks. However, Sheridan did make works of art for his own pleasure, giving them away as gifts. Occasionally a friend would include him in an exhibition, or buy a piece for their collection. Using mainly silkscreening and hand-painting, Sheridan produced cartoons, abstractions, and political works which were mostly based on photographic images. Slowly, by virtue of their pop culture appeal and the visually arresting quality of his Warholian pieces, Sheridan’s work gained a following of its own.

The first painting to launch Donald M. Sheridan into the public eye was titled ‘Post’, which is an image drawn from the front page of the New York Post on February 23, 1987, announcing the death of Andy Warhol. A very fitting tribute to the father of Pop Art, Sheridan first exhibited this work at a group show ‘Manhattan Arts Celebration of the Arts’ at The Limelight, New York. ‘Post’ proved such a success for Sheridan that in 1992 he was given a solo show at Wooster Projects in Soho, New York, which consisted of 27 new ‘Post’ canvases in various colourways and thick glitter. The entire wall of canvases sold immediately.

Later Years

In 2004, Donald M. Sheridan began to explore the image of Elvis Presley, creating large ‘Elvis’ paintings of which a number have been placed in collections across America and Europe. Sheridan believes ‘Elvis’ was the most powerful of the Warhol subjects from the 1960s and sees his artworks as extensions of Andy’s own exploration. However, his own pieces diverge from Warhol’s by the use of a pearlescent ‘interference’ colour which changes from champagne to pink as the viewer moves.

Sheridan relishes in his printmaking explorations and is currently working with new ideas including contemporary ‘Disasters’ and variations on the ‘Dollar Sign’. Sheridan, who continues to honor Warhol in each of his pieces, explains ‘I learned everything I know from him... if it weren’t for Andy, I’d be a psychiatrist. Making art is a different kind of psychiatry I guess’.

Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

To this day Donald and his studio, Donald M. Sheridan Fine Arts, continue to publish portfolios and editions by emerging and established contemporary artists, collaborating with those artists who seek to enlarge their repertoire by producing printed editions and unique monoprints.

Donald M. Sheridan: Homage to Andy Warhol

5 May - 18 June

41 - 43 Maddox St, London W1S 2PD

Preview Online

For more information about the exhibition, contact modern@shapero.com.