Artist Shannon Fannin creates paintings that exist on a level between abstract and realism, using illusion, reflection, color and shape to draw her audience in. Visit her website to see more of her artwork.
Do we choose our creative path in life, or does it choose us? In fifth grade, I drew a grasshopper for a science fair project. I used a black and white reference photo from a dictionary, but decided to draw my own interpretation of it. I embellished my masterpiece with vibrant colors and decorative patterns. It looked better that way. It won me second place. My teachers raved over it, and suggested I become an artist. This was a new concept to me, as I envisioned myself a future female Indiana Jones, scouring the planet for ancient treasures. I changed my thinking because of my supportive teachers, and started to consider becoming an artist.
I took all the art classes in high school I could, and received a scholarship to become a special needs art teacher. However, life often has other plans. Working full time, marrying young, and having children were to be my future for twenty five years. Art would have to wait.
At age forty three, I picked back up where I left off and took a few community college art classes in fall 2013. You know how you never forget to ride a bike? The same is true with your creativity. It may lie dormant, but it is always there. Like a patient friend waiting for you to call.
With each mark I made on paper or stroke on canvas, I felt like I was discovering the real me. At first, I started reacquainting myself with materials, and began drawing abstract figures. As my confidence grew, I moved to imagined still life.
When my husband added a 1961 Thunderbird to our family garage, I found myself attending car events and becoming immersed in the diversity of car culture. A year ago, I began creating vehicle paintings. I found the chaos of chrome reflections and the complexity of portraying carbon fiber intoxicating to my creative side. I had found my calling.
I consider myself an Expressionist Mixed Media artist. I love the freedom of incorporating many forms of acrylic media, gouache, ink blocks, and water soluble graphite into my work. My paintings initially lean towards realism, but it is an illusion.
I take artistic license between my reference and what goes on canvas. My goal is for my viewer to recognize the vehicle from across the room, and see objects within the reflection.
Upon closer inspection, they realize that their brain has put objects into areas where there is only a hint of color or shape. My viewer finished the painting with their imagination.
Where do I see myself in the future? I want to learn and improve with each piece I create. I see myself enlarging my subject matter with racing vehicles, civilian and military transportation, and motorcycles. My ultimate goal is to unite the world of cars with art in a way that everyone can enjoy.