Alumni: Shane Henken

BFA grad’s career marks him
as a man of unusual taste

Portrait of the artist

Shane Henken

By Callie Gordon ’12

You don’t meet too many people like Shane Henken. The Texas State University graduate is a photographer, painter, web designer and blogger — and a bike builder in his spare time. If you ask Henken to describe himself, he responds with one word: creator. He is always making something.

Although he has developed a well-defined style in his photography, his path to becoming an artist was not clear-cut. Henken began his college career at Texas A&M as an electrical engineer. After taking a few classes and still struggling to find his fit on campus, he decided to transfer to Texas State.

At Texas State, the faculty of the School of Art and Design helped Henken lay the groundwork for his career as an artist. Over the course of four years, he painted, sculpted and photographed, developing his body of work.

“The professors [at Texas State] really refined my skill by pushing the level of my work to new heights,” he says. “[They] instilled a level of confidence in me that showed and increased with every body of work.”

As a true adventurer, Henken says he is inspired by taking chances. Whether it be in fashion, art, architecture, design or life in general, he is inspired by any individual who pushes the limits and explores all possibilities as an artist. In his own work, Henken is taking chances by exploring new processes for making photographs.

“In my Unseen, But True series, I use the binary code for the digital photograph and distort, replace and space out the code giving me a new photograph. I have some control of the process, but not completely,” he explains. “Generally, it takes 50 to 100 different combinations to end up with a desirable result.”

In addition to his experimental processes, Henken expresses himself through color, and it is never lacking in anything he produces. “I react to color,” he says. “You react to color. We all react to color. And in the way that I use color, you have no choice not to.”

The way Henken translates his perspective into visual expressions is what makes him unique as an artist. He says, “One of the most enjoyable parts of seeing someone look at my art is the head tilt.”

Having graduated from Texas State in May, Henken is hoping to pursue a career as an art dealer while he continues to hone his craft as an artist. “There is so much good art out there that will never be seen because of a number of factors,” he says, “but if I can assist in any way to make that process easier, I will surely do so.”

To learn more about Henken and his art, follow him on Twitter or see more of his work at

“Cappello Nero” from the series “Unseen, But True”

“Verano Vibrante” from the series “Unseen, But True”

“Lo Spettatore” from the series “Unseen, But True”

“Allison” from the series “We Can Too”

“Brad” taken in Austin, Texas

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