Corbin Shaw sits in his living room wearing Dace Creepers

Interview: Corbin Shaw



corbin's studio

Artist Corbin Shaw leaning over his sewing machine making a flag artwork
Over Artist Corbin Shaw's shoulder as he works on a flag artwork

working on

one of his flag


Sitting down with Corbin in his living room, its immediately obvious that we’re talking to someone who doesn’t shy away from their identity. Almost all of the objects in there are personal, specific and tailored to him. Aside from the big sofa and fold out chairs, everything feels deliberate, thought out, and almost ornamental. He’s quick to notice me perusing the room:

“People see me and they see the work and they think I’m this like hyper masculine, lager drinking sort of lad and I’m not really. I’ve grown up around lad culture with my dad being into football and taking me to matches, and I’m so separate to that. And all those lads saw me as an outcast and a bit of a weirdo to be honest. I was always aware of what I was wearing and how I was acting and how it was viewed by other blokes ‘cause there were always strict invisible codes on what men should wear, say, do, drink. And I’d go to the pub and be like “can I have a gin and tonic?”.”

He trails into stories about the kids of his dad’s mates and how they’re like clones, almost mimicking their parents. It’s funny, but it feels almost false. He retaliates, saying:

“Everything you do is a representation of you.”

It seems apparent that Corbin wants to continue to break tradition, but is wary not to abandon the world he grew up in. He’s proud of his roots, but he’s not comfortable being entirely defined by them. We talk a while about this, it’s clear that Corbin wears references to his past on his sleeve, but he’s interested in how it can be changed:

“One of the interesting things with clothes, or things with a legacy, is that they get appropriated by the next generation and they choose to do whatever they want to do with it.”

Corbin sits at his desk working on an artwork wearing a Dace Creeper on one foot

one shoe on,

one shoe off

Dace Creeper on a blue metal folding chair from above
Artist Corbin Shaw sits at a sewing machine wearing Dace Creepers


in conversation

He’s also frustrated by the lack of imagination that some of his peers seem to share:

“I think with our generation a lot of the time we’re nostalgic for things that aren’t our own. I remember when people grew up and said they were born in the wrong generation and that used to piss me off so much, I’m like make stuff about your life and what you’re doing.”

He’s acutely aware of his audience too, the people who follow him and view his work:

“We’re now in an age where we’re done with post -modern irony and people want sincerity. People want story and narrative, one thing I liked about art school was that you had to be a reflection of your work, and your story needed to back that up. If you were making work about something, you had to be a part of it to make that work”

“I see my work as a love letter to my parents”

We go back and forth between his art, fashion and the emergence of digital youth subculture. When we start discussing social media, we get onto how widely broadcast young people’s lives now are, how the world is a lot smaller and more open than it used to be. He reflects on how he has responded to this new expressive behaviour:

“I have to wear things that scare me now, I like that, you know, being able to go out and wear something that’s so daring I’d never be able to get away with back home. Even the smallest things, it’s almost like a sexual or perverse thing, like I’m being really daring…”

And then, we talk shoes…

“When I was growing up I didn’t have a lot of clothes but what I did have, I really cherished. Whenever I got a new pair of shoes, I’d go to bed with the pair, like I’d take them with me and I’d sit there and analyse all the little details, how they were designed, constructed and it was like the honeymoon period, the first night with the shoes and I’d wake up with them next to me.”

Living room of artist Corbin Shaw, decorated with his flag artwork


on instagram

One Dace Creeper worn on a wooden floor
A Dace Creeper leaning on an ashtray

photography by

Jonathan Baron

Corbin has a pair of our Dace Creepers, which makes perfect sense when you think about the rich legacy of a 73 year old style and what interpreting that today might mean, especially to someone like him.

“Brands or people that live and die in the past do just fade away, you’ve got to evolve with the times and find your way into youth culture in some way and you have to be a blank canvas for the next person to come along and put their own spin on it.”