Painter Sheila Fein draws on popular culture to create her delightful body of work. She shares her inspiration and how she helps her art community.
ABI: You call your body of work “fantasy pop”. How does this describe you?
SF: When I create my paintings and drawings it is like I am in a waking dream. I describe the work that comes out of this state of mind as my Fantasy Pop work. I view the world in a fantastical and dreamlike way and I am enamored with contemporary popular culture. My new series “The In-Between” embodies this concept with brightly painted images showing today’s youth culture.
Having raised four unique and creative daughters, I feel I am only as old as my youngest children, who are still in college. This speaks to my state of mind, as I aspire to work without the critic on my shoulder, and let my imagination be my guide. My work is about letting go and following the strongest voice in my mind as to what to paint next.
ABI: What makes your fantasy portraiture so unique?
SF: When someone contacts me to commission a Fein Fantasy Portrait they know the painting or drawing will be unique, personal,and become a treasured family heirloom. Painted in acrylic on canvas, or sketched on paper, I work with existing photographs or take ones of my own to create a vision of you, your family, pet, treasured vacation, memory, or anything or place that you want. There is no limit to our combined imaginations.
My original portrait series was created in the 80’s at a family reunion at the Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard. I had photographed my nephew asleep on a couch that spoke to me like no other photo. Sleeping Prince shortly became the focus of my one women show in a gallery outside of Philadelphia and the cornerstone of the series. This image began my love affair with the portrait and one that does not have an end.
ABI: Tell us about People Sketchers, the organization that you run.
SF: I am President of People Sketchers which is an educational nonprofit organization. My friend and fellow artist Helen Freeman and I created this from a loosely run drawing club begun in 1987, Thousand Oaks, CA. We provide workshops and figurative drawing opportunities for artists in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Having gained notoriety, our classes are filled with professionals to emerging artists. LA Weekly rated us “One of the 10 Best Places to draw the Human Figure in LA”. Agoura Hills Life Magazine featured our group and presented a portfolio of my work. I was also interviewed for my work as an art facilitator/figurative artist on the radio TV show, TradioV of LA, and I am excited ArtLa Magazine is featuring my figurative work this month.
As an Art Facilitator, I help to organize shows and on occasion judge entries for shows. Presently, I am curating our first solo exhibition “People Sketchers Inspired” opening April 27th to June 25th at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, which will include my work along with fellow People Sketchers. I have other shows planned for us this year and it is great being able to hire models from all over LA as well as have dedicated time and space to draw the figure and create my work alongside other artists.