His work can be summarized as a collection of curios created as accessible objects of wonder; mysterious yet navigable. Ideally, interacting with them leads to the type of investigations common to both scientists and artists: noticing details, asking questions, and exploring phenomena.
Shawn is also an accomplished regional artist with large-scale water sculptures in downtown San Francisco and pieces on permanent display in over forty national and international venues. He received a design award from the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his work with fellow Exploratorium artists on a monumental kinetic building facade.
In the Tinkering Studio, he installed beautiful strobing flowers made of plastic bags.