L.A. Creative Community Loses a Friend

LOS ANGELES Award-winning art director Shawn David Brown, 34, passed away Sept. 28 in Virginia Beach, Va., due to complications from a blood infection and pneumonia. A Baja surfing accident had left him paralyzed since late November 2003.

Brown, who grew up in Virginia Beach and held degrees from Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College and the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, had worked in the creative department at Marina del Rey, Calif., independent Ground Zero Advertising from January 2000 until his accident last year. As an art director, he spearheaded accounts for clients including ESPN, The Los Angeles Times and the Paradise Island, Bahamas-based Atlantis Resorts.

“He had all the qualities of a meticulous and frustratingly brilliant art director,” said Ground Zero creative partner Court Crandall. “Where a lot of people get jaded and cynical along the way, Shawn charged head-first into every new project like it was going to be the greatest thing anyone had ever seen.”

Brown “wore clothes an eccentric grandfather wouldn’t have,” recalled Crandall, such as green garden clogs and Elvis-style sunglasses. “He was one of those rare and infectious personalities who could rally the troops around him to do everything from work all night [to] jump in the ocean at 11 p.m.”

Brown’s most lauded advertising work included the 2003 NHL “Hockey factory” campaign for ESPN and the “Bubbles” and “Growth” anti-smoking spots for the California Department of Health Services. His freelance artwork was featured at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show, and recently, Crandall had asked Brown to suggest ideas for a new California anti-smoking campaign.

A memorial service will be held at Virginia Beach’s Spring Branch Community Church on Friday at 2 p.m.