Shane Henderson, a native of New Kensington, followed his father’s example in his life as an artist.
“He taught me stuff before I was even in high school. I had a good starting point to take it professionally,” Henderson said. “I always drew when I was a child. He always encouraged that. It certainly had a big influence on my desire to embark on an artistic career.
Henderson and his father, Don, both graphic designers, started their own business, Graphic design and illustration Hendersonin 2013.
“When we started, we did a lot of logo design and website design for small businesses,” Shane Henderson said. “We’ve sort of moved on now to trying to sell our own art.”
Since 2016, Shane Henderson has produced digital illustrations of over 220 buildings under the banner of “Shane’s Buildings.”
“I have always loved architecture and have been interested in different architectural styles. Whenever I went on vacation to a new city, I spent a lot of time taking pictures of the different skyscrapers, churches or bridges in that city,” he said. “I had a large stock of photographs. I wanted to do something creative with it.
“Standing out as a photographer is really difficult. There are a lot of good photographers there,” he said. “I wanted to use my graphic design skills and apply them to do something with all these photos of buildings that I took.”
Don Henderson65, also a photographer and founder of the New Kensington Camera Club, is proud of his son’s work.
“He has incredible attention to detail,” he said. “I will look at things. He is precise.
Shane Henderson, 37, lives in Lower Burrell with his fiancée, Nicole Ritchie. Their wedding is scheduled for September 3, followed by a honeymoon in Florida.
After graduating from Valley High School in 2003, Shane Henderson went to art school and college, but did not graduate from either. Instead, he went to work for a graphic design studio where his father also worked.
“It was probably a stupid decision, but I dropped out of school and went to work full time,” he said. “I got on the pitch early, I guess.”
It was after father and son were fired at the same time that they started their own business.
The origin of “Buildings by Shane” was that Shane Henderson wanted to do some artwork to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the founding of New Kensington in 2016.
“I started doing illustrations of buildings that were in New Kensington that were local landmarks,” he said. “People seemed to like the artwork. I kept doing it and started getting requests from people to print it and sell it to them.
From New Kensington, Shane Henderson branched out into buildings in other cities, states and countries. People also asked him to do illustrations of their houses and other buildings.
His latest commission was the Gulf Tower in downtown Pittsburgh lit up in color for Pride Month in June. He donates half of the proceeds from the sale of these prints to the PGH Equality Center.
He also made donations from sales of his illustration of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Catholic Church to Arnold at the church to help with his reconstruction efforts after a fire in December.
“One of the things I really love is when someone comes up to me and they’re so happy that I made an illustration of something that means something to them,” he said. -he declares. “It’s always really cool when I can put a smile on someone’s face just by my artwork.”
Shane Henderson primarily pays his bills by doing graphic design for Wesley Family Services.
“If you see something by them, chances are it was me who designed it,” he said.
A career in art is not easy.
“It can sometimes feel overwhelming to think that this is something you can do full time and earn money,” he said. “The opportunity is there if you really believe in yourself and keep trying.”
For those who want a life in art, Shane Henderson says to always be creative and try to learn new ways of making art.
“If you love drawing, keep drawing. If you love painting, keep painting. Hone your craft and be the best you can be,” he said. “Don’t take criticism to heart. You are going to receive criticism that will probably hurt your feelings. That’s how it goes. Accept that and know that you can improve if you try.
Like his father, Shane Henderson says he will probably never retire.
“When you’re an artist, you never have the opportunity to retire. God is retiring you,” Don Henderson said.
“Being with Shane keeps me young.”