Texas-Based Artist On A Mission To Be One Of The Finest Vehicle Painters

Published 7 years ago

Meet Shannon “Shan” Fannin. She’s an Austin, Texas artist that is on a mission to be one of the finest vehicle painters in the country, who carries a message “It is never too late.”

Life has a way of waiting patiently until you are ready for your purpose. Shan believes that her purpose was to become an artist, but Life had to wait until she was ready to commit to creating. Unlike most little girls wanting to play with horses or dolls, Shan wanted to draw and paint as a child. As a teenage growing up in San Diego, she took advanced art classes and juggled working six days a week to help support her family. She earned a college scholarship to become a special needs art teacher, but was unable to attend college due to family needs. Patiently, Life waited 25yrs for her to come back to her art.

Over the years, Shan worked full time and eventually became a Marketing Director. She raised, homeschooled, and sent her son off to college and had a successful home business. Although she was content in her early 40’s, she still felt something was missing. Her husband suggested going back to art, so she took a handful of classes through community college including drawing, watercolor, painting, design. Her supportive instructors taught her to create what made her happy. Then, Life Drawing and conveying figures abstractly made her happy. Deciding not to pursue a degree, she converted a room in her home into a studio and became a full time artist in.

Around this time, she and her husband purchased and restored a 1961 Ford Thunderbird. They started attending local car events, and Shan became fascinated by the expansive car culture, stories, people, and history of the vehicles. At an artistic level, she marveled at the abstract reflections in classic chrome and the complex tonal values of modern vehicle bodies. On a dare from her husband, she painted her first vehicle, an orange GMC truck grill, in October 2014. From that moment on, Shan knew she had found her calling. She wanted to become a fine vehicle artist.

Shan describes her vehicle paintings as 90% realism with 10% expressionism thrown in. She uses mixed acrylic media and paints approximately 60% of her paintings by hand on large canvases up to 4’x6’ (with aspirations of painting full sized). Each of her paintings capture the form of the vehicle, and she plays with distorting the reflections in the body. Over the last two years, she’s painted classic cars from the 1930’s to high performance supercars like the McClaren P1. She is currently working on her first motorcycle painting, a Harley Davidson, as well as a 4’x6′ Rolls Royce Phantom. She will be starting a winning race car painting at the end of January.

Shan had her first solo exhibition at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2016 where she was commissioned to paint an award winning vintage Lamborghini Miura. Her paintings have been in numerous venues including Austin Bergstrom International Airport, and exhibitions in Texas and California. Her Porsche 356 was recently featured on the cover of Horizons Porsche Club magazine, and she was a guest on the Cars Yeah podcast in December. Shan is represented by a northern California gallery, and is seeking national gallery representation for her large, bold paintings.

We asked Shan what future goals she has for her art:

“Honestly, I want to be one of the finest vehicle artists in the country. I’d love people to look at my work and say: “Wow!” I dream of melding the world of fine art with vehicles in a way that all will enjoy. I’d also love my work featured in prominent art and vehicle magazines. Of course, meeting Jay Leno and photographing/painting cars in his vast collection would be pretty awesome too.”

Shan is available for commissions and her work can be purchased through her website.

More info: shannon fannin | facebook | twitter | IG: shanfannin

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

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In the Studio

Shannon in her Austin, Texas studio creating a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air.

Paint ’em BIG

Mid stage paintings of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and Rolls Royce Phantom.

First cover!

Shannon beeming from ear to ear as she shows her first cover piece for Horizons Texas Porsche Club magazine. She was thrilled to also share the featured artist story (you can read this story on her webpage at www.shanfannin.com)

Nostalgic Volkswagen Samba Painting Chosen for Statewide Competition

Shannon next to one of two large vehicle paintings chosen for the Texas statewide Art Hop competition, 2016.

Yummy chrome!

The 2nd painting accepted into the Texas statewide Art Hop Competition, 2016. Shannon was once asked: “If you were a car, what would you be?” Her answer? “I would be an old Chevy truck from the early 1950’s. They always look so happy. They are hard working and not always pretty, but they have style and always bring a smile. I try to be like that.”

Working late into the night for a deadline

The work of an artist isn’t a 9-5 job. They work whenever a deadline approaches. That could be late into the night and on the weekends.

Here is Shannon working on her 1961 Volkswagen Samba Bus painting for a competition deadline.

Pieces of a solo

These two paintings, a 1930 Cord L-29 and 1932 Auburn Speedster, were painted to show at Shannon’s first solo exhibition during the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Creating a Ferrari 275GTB

“I’ve got an amazing car for you to paint. Can you be here within the hour?” Those are the words Shannon heard when she had the opportunity to take a reference photo of a Ferrari 275GTB. This is one of her earlier pieces from 2015. Her style has evolved over time, but she still loves this painting.

Got wisdom to pour?



acrylic, Austin, cars, contemporaryart, expressionism, fineart, mixed media, motorcycles, painting, realism, Texas, vehicles
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