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Artist ID: 2321

Over the last five years I’ve been exploring the language of street signs focusing on texts that I create and appropriate. This investigation has led to print and signed based public artworks that explore time, authority, public space and adulthood. The majority of these works have been made into multiples for a public audience, in the hopes that the ideas of questioning authority and the status quo can spread to viewers and create agency. My intent with creating this agency is to give control over the text to the viewer to create meaning. A central component of this exploration has been taking apart both the material and formal elements that create a sign, and reimagining them. I use lines, dots, and geometric patterns in bright colors such as yellow, and pink to mimic the reflectiveness of street signs. 
The text I appropriate falls into categories of time, emergencies, warnings and other means of denying a thought or action. The text I invent for my signs comments on social and financial inequities in public and private spaces, and invites playful action. These texts combined with my use of bright colors and patterns turns something negative and instructional into something playful and ambiguous, which is further amplified by the context of the signs. 

This sign exploration has led to prints, gallery installations, works on paper and public art works using physical signs and sign making materials to reimagine and start arguments not just about what signs are, but about the environment and actions they seek to control.

Paul Shortt received his MFA in New Media Art from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute. He has participated in over 80 group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

His videos have been shown at the Museum of the Moving Image, The Phillips Collection and Whitespace Gallery. He has been in numerous group exhibitions in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, Miami, FL, and Baltimore, MD. He has participated in residencies at The Luminary, in St. Louis, MO and at Montgomery College in Silver Springs, MD.

He has participated in over 40 Art Book and Zine fairs including Printed Matter Art Book Fair’s in New York City, NY and Los Angeles, CA in addition to art book fairs in Vienna, Austria, Toronto, Canada, and Baltimore, MD. His artist books are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Yale University. Shortt has spoken about his work at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri and the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been written about in Hyperallergic, the Washington Post, Bmore Art and Review Magazine.

Shortt is currently based Gainesville, Florida.

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