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 Shawn Zents  (1965 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: female figure painting

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Ad Code: 4
Shawn Zents
Lazy Sunday
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following was submitted in September of 2006 by the artist:

Shawn Zents was born in Lima, Ohio in May of 1965.  He was raised in Ventura, California excelling in sports with aspirations of playing professionally.  During college he decided to take a drawing class as a break from academic studies and he has been with it ever since.

Shawn then attended the California Art Institute headed by Fred Fixler, a retired illustrator. He studied under Fred Fixler whose own teacher, Frank Riley, was an apprentice to Dean Cornwell.

He studied with Fixler for three years as well as Fred’s top students, Glen Orbik (famed Comic Poster artist) and others.  Professionally, he worked in the movie industry designing One-sheet designs and movie trailers such as “Random Hearts”, “Ransom”, “U-571”, and so on.  Shawn then began working in the storyboard advertising field with top advertising agencies across the United States. Such accounts included Pfizer, Chevrolet, Levis, Old Navy, Saturn and so on.

After the death of his father, Donald Zents, Shawn decided to step onto a new path.  Fine Art has allowed him the opportunity to explore design, compositions, color harmonies, and the beauty of light on form from a pure esthetic point of view.  To recreate, represent, and create beauty on canvas is Shawn’s ideal. “To have viewers look through my eyes at the canvas and to respond to the beauty is my deepest hope and perhaps feel the eternal truths of life.”

The work of Shawn Zents follows in the long line of tradition that has grown out of the New York Students Art League. Additionally, since his first encounters with the works of such greats as John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and William Merritt Chase, Shawn has realized that the most important quality of naturalistic painting is light.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Shawn Zents depicts the female figure including nudes in a variety of situations.  The artist's paintings of women emphasize beauty and light and often portray a sense of mystery.

Shawn Zents studied at the California Art Institute where he later taught until 2000 when he decided to pursue a fine art career full time.

Southwest Art, February 2005

Biography from Tree's Place Gallery:
Shawn Zents was born 1965, in Lima, Ohio.  Raised in Ventura, California, Zents became interested in studio art while in college, and subsequently attended the California Art Institute in Calabasas, California, where he studied under the school’s founder and master teacher, Fred Fixler, for three years.

At the beginning of his professional career Zents worked as a commercial artist: first in the movie industry, doing one-sheet posters and designs for movie trailers; then in the advertising industry where his artwork was used in campaigns for Pfizer, Chevrolet, Levis, Old Navy, and Saturn among others.  More recently, he took the skills he had learned from his initial training and his commercial career, and shifted into a new career as a gallery artist.

The training Zents had received from Fixler – even though the latter was primarily a commercial illustrator in a direct line of teachers from Dean Cornwell – became invaluable in his new career.  Concepts central to Zents’ figurative paintings which he learned from Fixler include the following (quoted from Fixler in Nason’s Notes on Drawing); “Drawing is describing form. You must learn to see, not so much learn to draw. Light and shadow in itself produces design. It is light shapes that give form; the dark shapes make the pattern.”

With this background, in addition to his fascination with the works of John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn among others, it is no surprise that Zents describes his own paintings as interpretations of “Sculpted Light”.  As with other highly talented contemporary representational artists of his generation, Zents began teaching others at an early stage in his career, and taught from 1991 to 2001 at the California Art Institute, Associates in Art, and his own Shawn Zents studio.  Zents currently resides and maintains his studio in Simi City, California.

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