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There are no mistakes, there are only lessons
Who are you?
My name is Shana Levenson. I’m a figurative realist painter.
How did you get interested in art?
I was interested in art as early as I can remember. I have an older brother who is an artist and I wanted to be like him when I was young. I carried a sketchbook with me everywhere. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I started realizing I wanted to pursue art professionally.
How would you describe your style?
I would say my style is figurative realism.
What are your sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration come from many different things. My undergrad in fashion has been my recent inspiration in painting lace and fabric on the female form. I look at a lot of designers and their dresses and the way they advertise their brand. Alexander McQueen, Monique Lhullier, and other designers open my eyes to different ways I can push my work. I was recently in Spain and went the Joaquin Sorolla house and was in awe of the dresses sitting next to the paintings! I also find inspiration from other artists, especially my fiancé, David Kassan, who is not only incredibly talented, but the passion and knowledge he has for what we do is inspiring.
How is the creation process for you?
Lately, the dresses have been the beginning of my process. Teresa Romero, the designer I’ve been collaborating with, allows me to borrow her lace pieces to use as my references. I do a photo shoot with the model (which is usually a close friend of mine) wearing the dresses and then figure out how I’m wanting to represent the dress and the model, whether cropped in, or using the entire figure. I size the images, cut and prime my aluminum panel to size, draw out the image as detailed as I can, and then directly start painting on the panel. I typically do 2 or 3 layers to get a finished painting.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Some favorite materials are:
Sennelier paints (specifically Blush tint, Peach Black, Turquoise Light, Warm Grey)
Vasari paints (specifically Capucine Red, Terre Verte, Raw Umber, Video Pale Blue)
Aluminum composite panel
Who are your favourite artist?
David Kassan, Margaret Bowland, Karen Woolley Offutt, Joaquin Sorolla, Bouguereau, Sargent, Katie O’Hagan, Dan Sprick, Jeremy Lipking, Kamille Corry, Nicolas Uribe, and so many more!
What do you do besides being an artist?
I am a single mom on top of being a full time artist. Both are incredibly rewarding. I’m also obsessed with my Peloton bike which is an indoor bike as well as yoga. I love to cook and drink wine and spend time with my family and friends.
What are the best advice given to you as an artist?
Keep learning. Keep pushing yourself, keep getting better. Experiment, have fun, and don’t be afraid of failure. There are no mistakes, there are only lessons.