Contemporary realism - Shaina Craft -
Shaina Craft, “Nothing Proved Can Be”

Meet this week’s top Realism Today Ambassador, Shaina Craft.

Shaina Craft is a figurative oil painter whose work combines classical techniques with contemporary subject matter. Shaina was born in Pennsylvania in 1985 and lives and works in Chicago. She graduated with an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2015 and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011. Shaina Craft has exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, including the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, the Untitled Space NY, Abend Gallery, the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg, and the Affordable Art Fair NYC with SaatchiArt. Her work is collected internationally. Shaina’s work has been recognized by publications such as Juxtapoz, Hi Fructose, and PoetsArtists.

About “Nothing Proved Can Be” (shown at top)
Elizabeth I scratched ‘Much suspected of me, Nothing proved can be’ into her window with a diamond while under house arrest at Woodstock Manor around 1555, before she was queen. She was suspected of collaborating with Protestant rebels. I made the Elizabethan ruff collar out of paper and posed for the painting myself. Each painting in this series features a mask that I have made by hand out of everyday materials such as foam board, paper, and twine.

Contemporary realism - Shaina Craft -
Shaina Craft, “Without Within”

On “Without Within”
My work is censored over and over again on social media for including nudity. After being told that a prestigious gallery would almost certainly reject anything with a nude figure, I decided to make this painting with nothing but a tiny glimpse of the subject’s eye visible.

Figurative Art - Shaina Craft -
Shaina Craft, “All the World Is Here to Look on Me”

On “All the World Is Here to Look on Me” 
The landscape in this diptych is entirely invented. I pieced together various source imagery to create what she sees as the ideal sublime landscape. Yet, the focus of the painting is drawn inward toward the figure, and then inward still to my sense of self in such a vast world.

Learn more about Shaina Craft at

Related > Browse portrait and figure workshops in the style of contemporary realism here.