Liberty Studios is the primary publisher of the aviation & military art of John D. Shaw, established in1994. Originally from Nevada, John began his career in graphics & illustration during the late 80’s in central California. As a commercial illustrator, he designed and created artwork for numerous clients, among them Lucasfilms, Major League Baseball, Kellogg’s, and several major entertainment software companies. His career took a major turn in the early ‘90s as his interest in World War II aviation began growing. Inspired by the work of artists such as William S. Phillips, R.G. Smith and Robert Taylor, he volunteered to create artwork promoting various WWII aviation events in the area.
When a local Military Museum located at a former WWII Primary Trainer base near Fresno, CA planned to host the legendary Doolittle Tokyo Raiders in 1994, John volunteered to create what was to become his first major WWII aviation painting to honor them and raise funds for the museum. The result was The Hornet’s Nest, which was met with warm acclaim by not only the Raiders themselves, but also the aviation art world. Following this print release, the enjoyment and success of working with these legendary vets served as motivation to begin publishing more military and aviation scenes to help preserve history…thus was born Liberty Studios.
Since then, John began working with surviving members of various legendary WWII groups, such as the AVG Flying Tigers, Black Sheep Squadron, Tuskegee Airmen, and 101st Airborne “Band of Brothers”, just to name a few, and establish relationships with many of its great representatives. People such as “Tex” Hill, Gunther Rall, Don Blakeslee, Richard Winters and many others, would be instrumental in assuring historical accuracy of Shaw’s scenes as they evolved from concept sketch to final brushstroke. The resulting paintings, many of which would become quickly sold-out lithograph editions, have enjoyed worldwide acclaim, and now sell for very desirable prices on the collectors’ Secondary Market.
In addition to his titles published through Liberty Studios, John has also created commissioned work for other publishers, organizations and individuals, involving historical personalities ranging from the original Mercury Astronauts to both Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush. In the year 2000, the Shaw family and Liberty Studios relocated to central Florida, and continue to publish not only multi-signature lithographs, but also a line of beautiful canvas giclee reproductions of many of John’s paintings, which are hand-retouched in oils, closely resembling the originals.
John Shaw’s work may be ordered directly from Liberty Studios, and is also available through many fine dealers throughout the U.S. and overseas.
Since 1994, artist & Illustrator John Shaw has devoted the theme of his work to preserving aviation and military history. He has considered it a privilege to have worked firsthand with many of America’s great aviators and veterans, and has always strived to achieve historical accuracy in his paintings based largely on their knowledge and recollections whenever possible. Many of his award-winning paintings have also served to illustrate the covers and contents of various publications and periodicals. In 2010, Shaw was honored at the National Museum of Aviation at Pensacola as the recipient of the R.G. Smith Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation Art. Most of his original paintings are part of the collections of various museums and private collectors around the country.
Shaw: “It was around 1992 that this (WWII Aviation) interest, which had been kind of lying dormant for years, just couldn’t be ignored any longer! My Dad had been just a bit too young to see combat in World War II and had joined the Navy shortly before it ended, with the hopes of being a naval aviator. His enthusiasm about the romance and adventure of those days (and those great planes!) had always stuck with me. I had recently seen for the first time the beautiful paintings of artists like William S. Phillips, R.G. Smith, Robert Taylor and a few others, and was absolutely inspired. I feel as if a “Still, Small Voice” was urging me to pursue this type of art myself, not only because of the images, but also for a chance to meet some of the amazing guys who made this history and maybe even help to continue their legacy in some small way. I had little knowledge of the world of Aviation Art, let alone how to market it, but that was okay…at this point it was just a labor of love, and I had no idea where it might lead.