Shaunté Gates was born on June 13,1979 in Washington, D.C. An imaginative child, he was constantly exploring, absorbing and recreating the world around him. He thrived in his studies at the renowned Duke Ellington School of the Arts, graduating as a Visual Arts major with Honors in 1997. Gates then pursued a degree in Graphic Design from Bowie State University (Bowie, MD), during which he traveled to work in Verona, Italy. Along with the city’s captivating art and architecture, a number of portrait commissions pulled him back into the painter’s perspective.

Gates served as the Assistant Art Director at the Perry School Community Service Center in Washington, D.C. for six years. Three of those years were spent encouraging numerous young artists through art courses at Terrell Junior High School. Teaching invigorated Gates; the students were a constant reminder of his own development as an artist, and inspired him to pursue new directions in his work. At this point, Gates was well-recognized for his portrait painting, but was also delving into mixed-media collage and mural painting. These processes enabled him to implement his vision across a spectrum of texture, color, and scale.

Gates often arrives at a blend of reality and fantasy in his work, aiming to capture the state of semi- consciousness right before one falls asleep. Instead of sketching in preparation, he gathers notes and writes to expand on his observations. Once his notes begin revolving around a particular concept, a blueprint emerges. Due in part to this detailed approach, and also stemming from his training in portraiture, Gates incorporates even the most subtle and fleeting elements as he builds his work.

His brushstrokes, colors and textures are applied with extraordinarily varied intensities; some pieces expose the frenzy and momentum of a dream, others the pain of stillness. It is as if Gates is exposing the action that unfolds within an instant. A viewer encounters a subject on the verge of something and is left to imagine their fate. Through his manipulation of light and depth and movement, the energy of the human psyche becomes the narrative.

Gates has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in the Washington region, including with Parrish Gallery, Longview Gallery, The Graham Collection, Attitude Exact, Sidwell Friends School, T. Miller Gallery (Baltimore, MD), and RFA Gallery (Harlem, NY), as well as juried exhibitions with Black Artists of D.C. and The Corcoran College of Art. Major commissions include a piece for the Howard University School of Law marking its140th anniversary, unveiled by UN Ambassador Susan Rice.