The need to create and nourish an idea always seemed to dominate Shaw’s personality. While his love of music led to a career as a high school music teacher in Texas, there was always this need to work in other mediums. “I love developing ideas that I had never seen before. I also love working with wood and other materials. There is great pleasure in being able to hold, in my hands, an object that I had created from raw materials.”
The process of creating the "Safety in Numbers" series is labor intensive and involves more that 30 steps in the process from start to finish. Shaw has designed a variety of templates, varying in size and shape for the different fish used in his art. Each fish goes through at least 15 shaping and finishing steps before it reaches its final form and is ready for priming and paint. The remaining steps involve the finishing of the fish, as well as preparing the surface of the metal plates on which the fish "swim".