Devan Shimoyama

Installation Views

b. 1989 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA

Devan Shimoyama is a visual artist whose work explores depictions of the black, queer, male body.


Though he sometimes employs a variety of other mediums, Shimoyama primarily focuses on painting, specifically the genre of portraiture. His compositions are inspired by those of classical painters of the past, such as Francisco Goya, or Caravaggio. However, his use of materials is distinctly contemporary, as is the particular subject matter he depicts.
Simoyama has stated that he wants the figures in his work are perceived as “both desirable and desirous.” He is aware of the politics of queer culture, and the ways in which those politics relate to black American culture. These elements come together in his works in a way that is both celebratory and complicated.


The celebratory aspects of Shimoyama’s work come through in his choice of materials. Employing such things as fur, feathers, glitter and costume jewels like rhinestones, and sequins, he brings shine and dimensionality to his surfaces. These materials add to the sense that the figures in the works possess a sort of magical aura, and joyful spirit. Yet so many of the men in Shimoyama’s works also literally have jewels in their eyes, endowing them with a mystified, often vacant expression, interrupting the connection between their inner selves and the viewer, and suggesting a sort of silent suffering. Many are also shedding tears.


Shimoyama was awarded the Al Held Fellowship at the Yale School of Art in 2013 and has had a residency at the 2015 Fire Island Artist Residency. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States.

Solo/ Two person Exhibitions

2019We Named Her Gladys, Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL

Shh…, De Buck Gallery, New York, NY

2018Cry, Baby: Devan Shimoyama curated by Jessica Beck, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

2017Sweet, De Buck Gallery, New York, NY

Solo Booth @ PULSE Miami Beach w/ Samuel Freeman Gallery

Solo Booth @ Independent NY w/ Stems Gallery

2016 Solo Booth @ PULSE Miami Beach w/ Samuel Freeman Gallery

Myth and Body, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY

Devan Shimoyama, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY

Devan Shimoyama|Salamon Huerta, Samuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2015 Hocus Pocus, Bunker Projects, Pittsburgh, PA

Group Exhibitions

2018LOVE 2018: Purple Hearts, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY

Parallel Lives, Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL

2017Fictions, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

2016Bedazzled, Lehman College Gallery, Bronx, NY

The Soul of Black Art: A Collector’s View, Upfor Gallery, Portland, OR

Cultural Landscapes, The Fed Galleries at KCAD, Grand Rapids, MI

Introspective, BravinLee Programs, New York, NY

2015Love is Love, Emmanuel Gallery, Denver, CO

It Does and It Doesn’t, Alter Space, San Francisco, CA

UNLOADED, Northern Illinois University Art Museum, Dekalb, IL

Realities in Contemporary Video Art, Screening, Fondation des Etats Unis, Paris

PaperRoute 66, BravinLee Programs, New York, NY

2014People Staring, Kravets Wehby Gallery, New York, NY