An Interview with Shan Fannin.
Who and where are you from?
Shannon “Shan” Fannin (I go by Shan) Born in Long Beach, CA Living in Austin, TX.
What brought you to Art?
Art was a way for me to escape as a kid from a broken home. Even when life wasn’t cheerful, I could turn to art to get make it happier. In school, earned a college scholarship to become a special needs drawing teacher. I never finished a semester due to marriage, career in Marketing, and children. I took off 25yrs for career and family before I came back to art. Creating has always been a part of whom I am. I just had to wait for the right time in life to really make it important.
What is your driving force?
That almost sounds like a pun with what I create. LOL! Seriously, I think for me it is to break the stereotypes. The fact that I didn’t start on an art career until I was 44yo. That I’m a middle aged mom and woman that is creating paintings machines. Being a vehicle artist often puzzles people. I will often here “I thought you were a man” or “Have you thought of painting flowers, children, or landscapes?” I believe that women are finding their voice stronger than ever in the art world today. We are taking on issues that are political, social, economical, and non-conventional. When most people think of an artist, they usually think someone like Van Gogh, Warhol, or Michaelangelo. They don’t automatically think female. The same is true with vehicle artists. We think male. I want to change that. I want to prove that a female artist can love vehicles and depict them in a bold, interesting way.
What kind of work you do and why?
I paint cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles on canvas with acrylics. My work has been categorized as Realism, but I see my work a little differently. I greatly enjoy painting with the palm of my hands or fingers. I paint with them for my backgrounds and some areas of reflections. That is why I like to work on large canvases. It allows me to paint with my hands. With my backgrounds abstract, I can bring out the brushes and create a realistic vehicle. I think that abstract background gives the eye a place to rest before taking in the complexity of a realistic vehicle. I consider my work 90% realism and 10% abstraction.
As for why I paint vehicles for subjects, it is to share their beauty. To make us aware of what we take for granted. Most of us just see a tool that gets us to work, school, grocery shopping, or our kid’s soccer game. However, someone designed that headlight, fender, or bumper. A team of people created that engine. No matter if created to take the checkered flag at LeMans or take the dog to the vet, vehicles are important to us. They aren’t just appliances to me. They give a glimpse of whom we are. We put some of our personality into our vehicles. Fast, economical, flashy, vintage, modified, rusty, pinstriped, lowered, expensive, and more. They all tell the world a bit about ourselves. I like to capture that onto canvas. I want my collectors and viewers to enjoy these vehicles not only in their driveway, but on their walls.
Tell us more about your thought process.
I don’t usually have a set vehicle in mind for my references. My husband and I attend car and motorcycle shows. WE go to F1 and dirt track races. We’ve been to England and Italy to photograph for future paintings. When I need to create a new piece, I will look through hundreds, if not thousands of photos for what I’m inspired by.
Every now and then, I will see a car or motorcycle in our travels that I feel I NEED to paint. Something about the vehicle clicks with me and I know this will be a good painting. I love when that happens. It happens maybe 1-2x a year. When it happens, I feel like the painting almost paints itself. I’m just the observer holding the brush. It has happened with my Indian Scout, Mercedes AMG aka Red Pig, and my 1959 Cadillac Coupe deVille.
Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?
Wow! This is a hard question. First of all, I don’t follow other vehicle artists. Although I GREATLY admire so many, I don’t follow them on social media or their sites. I find that when I do, I start to question my own style and approach to work. I don’t want to copy someone else, but do my own thing. Instead, I follow a lot of figurative, landscape, still life, botanical, and abstract 2D artists. Each style has its own challenges, and I love to see how those artists tackle them.
That being said, I enjoy when artists have a bit of an unexpected humor in their paintings. Life is so serious, and I admire tongue-in-cheek humor in art work. Honestly, I can’t narrow it down to one artist. However, I can give you four male artists that I absolutely adore with this style currently: Scott Listfield (Astronaut in a landscape series), Matthew Grabelsky (Animals on a subway series), Eric Joyner (Robots and donuts), and Robert C. Jackson (Balloons, toys, and food). Each of these artists has a quirky approach that makes me smile.
As for female artists, I lean towards figurative artists that portray strong women in their works. I am not a figurative painter, and just love what these women create. Artists like: Erin Anderson, Andrea Kowch, Suzy Smith, Susannah Martin, and Mary Jane Ansell. These and many more women artists are setting an example for where the art world is going in the future. A world full of bold confidence and progressive thinking. It is an exciting time to be a creative.
For more of Shan Fannin Check the links below:
Website :- http://www.shanfannin.com/
Instagram :- https://www.instagram.com/shanfannin/
Facebook :- https://www.facebook.com/artbyshanfannin
All Images are copyright by: Shan Fannin