ABOUT STEPHANIE SHANK
“The first principle of being a warrior is not being afraid of who you are”, a wise Tibetan monk once said. That statement strongly resonated for me in my early path to becoming an artist. I seem to always have known this warrior companion, a tangible part of myself. I might have wished for a different nature, one less passionate, curious, and intense, or an upbringing less inclined to allow for my challenging character. What I finally accepted and acknowledged between all the givens was that coveted space of personal freedom, to do exactly what I wanted to.
The fact that my mother was a fine art major at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. during the mid 1940’s sanctioned my natural independence of mind and spirit to live the creative life. At a young age, I watched her happily absorbed in her private world while in the process of painting. This observation impacted me with an infusion of wonder and mysterious yearning. That feeling remains fixed, intact, a touchstone for a certain quality of love. That love transcended into a purity of aspiration and persistence to take hold and define my life as an artist.
My tendency to be more at home inside my mind than outside of it may have reinforced my ultimate direction towards abstraction. It is natural for me to make up images in my head, absorbing and arranging color and form, inventing and reinventing a pictorial language. Most of my paintings originate organically from an emotionally charged personal experience, a particular exchange with someone, or a defining period in my life. The ongoing ritual of studio life grounds me, sustains me.
If I didn’t paint, I would be betraying myself.