CAMANO ISLAND — If art feeds the human spirit, then this art feeds humans spirits.
Bright, colorful images adorn flasks — cats flitting between high heels, a poodle with a woman in a little black dress and a rabbit lounging on the lap of a nymph.
The flasks are the creation of Shannon Judge, a Camano Island artist who works under the name Shano. It’s also become the artist’s second bestseller behind her prints.
“I’m always seeing things and wondering how I can incorporate my images onto that,” Shano said. “It was just one of those things, I was just in the mall, I saw a flask and I thought this would be a great gift.”
She’s sold thousands of the flasks through boutiques and on her own website like etsy.com. She’s found they’re popular for bachelorette parties, birthdays or wedding favors.
“They’re great girlfriend gifts, women like to buy gifts …” Shano said. “Women like to buy stuff and buy stuff for our friends.”
She has more than 15 years worth of images she can draw upon. All of the images are feminine figures in a contemporary pop art style made with bright blues, reds and purples.
“I like curves and softness and sensuality,” Shano said. “Masculine power is something you feel rather than you visualize. My paintings are how I see things in colors and softness and the feminine.”
She’s not the only artist who uses art to decorate flasks. And she puts her art on other items such as purses, tote bags and mousepads. She’s also made art pieces for wine bottle labels for Dusty Cellars Winery on Camano Island.
She originally trained to be a fashion designer, but she didn’t pursue that as a career. She began painting in 2000.
“I was trying to find a gift for my grandma and I saw a painting,” Shano said. “I thought I should just get her a painting. And then the wheels started turning, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I try painting.’”
Her art is so popular that it’s also been stolen. She was walking through a department store a few years ago when she spotted a jewelry holder, a statuette of a woman striding while holding handbags. The statuette was the image that Shano had created years earlier. She figures the company from India found her image online and copied it. She looked into fighting the company over a copyright violation but ended up dropping it.
“As far as me going after them legally, it’s nearly impossible,” Shano said. “Can you imagine shopping just randomly and seeing your image like that?”
She started making the flasks about a decade ago. The prints are fashioned in a durable vinyl and she puts it on top of background that includes zebra stripes, tiger stripes and leopard prints.
“I sign them and date them so they are collector’s items,” Shano said. “They are their own pieces of affordable art.”