Graffiti artist Shane Pierce is taking over the walls of Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 9, 2018

SALISBURY — Shane Pierce said Grievous Gallery is “where it all started” for him.

“I did my first piece here,” Pierce said as he leaned against a wall, looking up at one of the four pieces of art he has painted in the shop.

Since he began painting at Grievous Gallery, he’s been commissioned to do graffiti murals by The Pedal Factory, The Fish Bowl, the YMCA and the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department.

“And it’s just kind of growing from there,” Pierce said. “People have seen it; they want my stuff. I do one, and within 24 hours I’m getting commissioned to do two more pieces.”

Pierce, who grew up in Chardon, Ohio, moved to Charlotte a few years ago to take over an air duct cleaning business.

He said he had not thought to come to Salisbury until one of his employees told him about the Salisbury Parks and Recreation-sponsored graffiti wall.

“So what happened was the guy who works for me in (Winston-Salem) drives every day to Charlotte and the traffic builds up near Salisbury. And he was like, ‘Hey, I found a graffiti wall if you want to come paint.’ Because he knows I’ve been doing graffiti street art stuff,” Pierce said.

It was at the graffiti wall that Pierce met Caleb Hill, who works at Grievous Gallery on East Council Street.

“And that’s when I met Tim and Elysia (Demers),” Pierce said. “And I came in here and we just talked and got to know each other for, like, an hour and a half. We didn’t talk about art or anything else. We talked about our lives, what they’ve been through, what I’ve been through.”

One of the toughest things Pierce has experienced inspired one of his Grievous Gallery paintings.

“There’s just a lot of sentimental stuff going with this image,” Pierce said, gesturing to a massive blue eye partially hidden behind a brick wall.

Pierce said he was inspired to paint the image on canvas a year and a half ago when he lost his younger brother, Thomas, to a drug overdose.

“It kind of represented how I felt at the time. I was hiding. I didn’t want to go out into the world. I didn’t want to deal with anything. And so the eye behind the wall, it’s looking out and it’s interested, but it doesn’t want to come out from behind the wall,” Pierce said.

Pierce said the grief he felt when he came up with the image reflects the grief many Grievous Gallery customers have when they visit the shop.

Grievous Gallery is a place that allows people to throw bottles and breakables in order to relieve stress, anger or grief.

“Me getting emotional over this, this is what happens here. That’s what this is,” Pierce said.

In the days after Pierce’s work was completed at the gallery, he said he began receiving requests from other local businesses. He said he’s painted 10 pieces in Salisbury in the past six weeks.

Pierce grew up drawing and painting. He made the shift to graffiti art about six months ago.

“I do so many paintings, and my house is covered in so many paintings and I feel like they don’t get out,” Pierce said. “So I’m like, ‘I’m spending the money. I’m spending the time to do this. Why don’t I go out and do it in public where more people could see it?’”

With more businesses and people asking for his artwork every week, Pierce said he is thinking about moving to Salisbury.

“In my mind, I want to move here in the downtown area and get a warehouse and build my dream spot and have my studio apartment and my shop all under one roof,” Pierce said.

Pierce said he usually charges a small fee for his work but takes it on a case-by-case basis.

Pierce can be contacted at abstractdissent.com.

More of his artwork can be seen on Instagram and Facebook by searching “Abstract Dissent.”

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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