Shannon “Shan” Fannin brings cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles to life with her signature mix of hyperrealism and abstraction by painting with her fingers, palms, and brushes.
Fannin was born in Long Beach, California. She earned a college scholarship to pursue an art teaching degree for special needs children education, but life had other plans. She put becoming an artist on hold for marriage, a career in marketing, owning a business and homeschooling her son for 16 years. Using her portfolio for a resume, she taught elementary school art for two years through a private academy.
After a 25 year hiatus from an art career, Fannin returned to school to refresh her abilities. Taking a handful of community college courses to reacquaint herself with mediums, she began building her expressionistic style. Her favorite courses were in figurative life drawing.
When her husband added a 1961 Ford Thunderbird to their family garage, she began attending car shows. She enjoyed meeting other vehicle owners and learning the history of their vehicles. Mesmerized by the reflections and sleek lines, Fannin made the correlation between their bodies and the figurative drawings she had been making. She soon took on the challenge to paint a vehicle wholeheartedly—her first was an orange GMC truck.
Fannin has painted vehicles from smaller scale to life size and beyond. She paints reflection segments for each work with her fingers, palms, and brushes. Many categorize her work as photorealism, bordering on hyperrealism. However, Fannin tries to maintain a balance of 10% abstract and 90% realism in her paintings.
Her large paintings are created in high quality acrylic paints. She is a real fan of color, and enjoys bringing chrome and carbon fiber to life through their reflections. She strives to connect with her viewers on a personal level by depicting vehicles they might wish to own.
Fannin has won numerous awards including Best of Show, Honorable Mention, Best Composition, and Finalist for national and international exhibitions. She is currently represented by fine art galleries within the USA, Canada, and UK.
When not painting, Fannin is also an avid runner, spinner, and classic movie fan. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband of 33 years and their two rescue dogs, Ella and Bennie.
“Who are we when no-one is looking? What is our history? Most of us go about our lives often concealing our inner selves from the world. One indication of our true personality is the vehicle we drive or dream of someday owning.
“To me, what we drive is more than an appliance to get us from Point A to B – each vehicle is a mobile sculpture that reflects who its driver is. They give a hint of our cultural background, financial status, and personality. By interviewing owners, photographing, and then painting these vehicles, I capture a bit of these personalities onto canvas. I create visual stories of: that first motorcycle in high school, the classic family car that was driven on vacations, or the Italian sports car that we dream of owning. Vehicles are a subject that we can all relate to. No matter our differences, we all have a story that revolves around a car, motorcycle, or airplane.
“My paintings marry nostalgia for cars/motorcycles/airplanes with the love of art. I live for the moment when my work brings forth an emotional connection with my viewer. The greatest compliment I can receive is when a viewer not only appreciates the subject depicted, but shares memories of why the painting resonates with them on a personal level.”
– Shan Fannin