Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Painting Parent - Shana Levenson

Today's Painting Parent is Shana Levenson.
Shana's current series of work, Portraits of Parenthood, is focused on non-traditional portraits of the sometimes-secret duality of parenting in modern times. 

How many children do you have? What are their ages?

I have two children.  My daughter, Abigail (Abby) is 5 and just started kindergarten and my son Samuel (Sam or Sammy) is 4 and just started Pre-K.

How did your artistic career begin?

I walked around with a sketchbook as a child.  My older brother, Mike, is an artist and I basically did what he did.  He had a comic strip all throughout is childhood and into college and I followed suit when I was younger.  As I got older I got into sports and didn’t draw as much but picked it back up later in high school when I started designing my basketball team’s t-shirts and drew characters of each of my classmates.  I went to the University of Texas for Fashion
Design and ended up not doing anything with that due to moving around for military with my husband at the time.  After my second child, I decided it was time to go get my masters in Fine Arts since that was something I knew I wanted and have been focused ever since.  I paint in my studio from basically 9 to 4 everyday.  I started Shana Levenson LLC in January 2014 and started entering shows and have won first place in 3 so far and several other awards in the others.  It’s been exciting and fun and I love going to “work” everyday!  My anticipated graduation date for my masters is December 2015 in which I hope to be showing in galleries by then and will try to apply for a college teaching job. 

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

My kids go to school everyday and we have a babysitter pick them up so I am able to work in my studio, focus on finishing school, and grow my work.  My schedule is changing a bit due to family circumstances so we will see what my days are like after that point.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

I am a pretty routine person as well as extremely focused.  When I set a goal for myself I try to always achieve it.  Having a routine helps me with that.

Do your children get involved with your art?

My children don’t actually paint on my paintings, but they definitely inspire some of what I do.  I also love having them in my studio painting with me although I don’t get much work done when they do… they are extremely messy painters.  J

Do they inspire aspects of your art?

As stated above, they do inspire aspects of my work, especially my thesis work for my MFA which is revolved around parenthood.

How has having children changed your artwork?

Having children hasn’t really changed my artwork.  I would say life experience has changed it and I try to bring that emotion into what I am creating.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

It hasn’t affected household tasks since I am constantly on the go and have been able to find balance in everything (so far).  I think as the kids get older and start getting involved in more activities, we will see what happens.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

I didn’t really do much when they were first born as far as my art goes, but once I did get back into it, I fit my art in with parenting somehow…. But it all seems like a blur when I look back.  LOL

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I LOVE encouraging their artistic sides.  There was a period when my daughter Abby painted faces either green or black because she wanted to and I LOVED that.  She actually carries around a journal and draws things that she is feeling or experienced that day or saw somewhere, which I have great admiration for.  Her creativity astounds me and I try to push her to keep thinking outside the box because I actually ENVY that part of her artistic side.  I like to think of my son as the more abstract artist because he just likes to flow with his work… no rhyme or reason.  I like to call him my little Rothko sometimes because he loves painting sections of color.  I hope to keep pushing them to always paint or at least have some sort of creative release somewhere in their lives because for me it’s my zen… I escape into what I’m doing and the world stops moving.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

Not at all.  I am open to them being WHOMEVER they want to be.  I just want to be there to open their eyes up to all the possibilities they have in the world whether it be music, art, math, science…whatever.  As long as they find something they love to do!

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

Being an artist evens me out.  Without art, I fear I would be a lost soul.  Being a parent is the most amazing thing in the world… but it doesn’t define who I am completely.  I am so much more and I’m thankful I have art to be able to share that with others.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

I haven’t had that feeling quite yet… but I’m so new in the art world so I haven’t had much time to experience that yet I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment