Former Escondido resident and Orange Glen High School graduate Shannon Mateljan Fannin, who became a realist vehicle painter at the age of 44, will have her second solo exhibition this month in Texas.
Fannin lived in Escondido from 1974 to 1989. She attended Orange Glen Elementary, Hidden Valley Middle School, and graduated from Orange Glen High School in 1987.
She recalls, “Mr. Savage, my Orange Glen art teacher, made a wonderful impression on me. I will always be thankful for his guidance.”
Fannin received a scholarship from Orange Glen High to attend Palomar Community College for a special needs art teacher degree. However, she married out of high school, moved to San Francisco, became a marketing director, had kids, and then moved to Austin, Texas.
She describes what happened next: “I homeschooled our son for 16 years and owned a home daycare and then mural business. When our son started college in 2012, I took a few community college art classes. I did not pursue a degree, but a refresher in materials and methods instead. In October 2013, my husband brought home our 1961 Ford Thunderbird, and challenged me to paint my first car. A year later, I became a professional realist vehicle painter. I adore what I do now.”
Now living in Texas, Fannin is a realist vehicle painter and will have her 2nd solo exhibition this month at the Link & Pin Gallery, Austin. Her first solo was in 2016 at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Her upcoming show is entitled “Chrome to Canvas,” and, she says, “describes how I see my art. I am struck by the reflective beauty in vintage cars, motorcycles, and airplanes and take that inspiration to the canvas. Each of these vintage vehicles have a story. A uniqueness that makes me want to look further. That is what I try to capture in my paintings. I consider my art 90% realism and 10% self-expression. I want my viewer to instantly recognize what I’ve painted, but step closer to examine what I’ve depicted in the chrome and body work.
“My greatest compliment is when someone sees my work, and tells me why it speaks to them. They often will say that was their first car, they worked on that with their Dad, their big brother had that type of motorcycle, etc. Vintage vehicles have a special place in my heart for that very reason. We all have stories about vehicles that have made a positive impact on our lives. I am looking forward to this 2nd solo exhibition to share my vintage cars, motorcycles, airplanes and share their unique stories with my viewers.”
She tells The Times-Advocate: “My goal is to be one of the finest vehicle painters in the country. My work has been in many publications, and I will have work in American Art Collector in October.”
She is aiming for the top rank. “My goal is to be one of the finest vehicle artists in the country, in not world. I started my journey as a fine artist at age 44. I believe that we can start a new path in life at any age. I’m so thankful for all that life has taught me before I became an artist. The trials and triumphs have taught me that patience, giving back, honesty, and dedication are the keys to success. What other goals do I have for myself? I’d love to show my work during Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and to one day meet Jay Leno and photograph his collection for a whole new series of works.”