"Painted to & inspired by the Santana song, “Black Magic Woman.” I have chromesthesia - which causes my brain to “see” colors moving as I listen to music. I listen to nothing but the song from the moment I begin the piece until it’s finished. In doing this, I become one with the music. Since I began dancing at age 3, the moving colors I see take the form of dancing. Listening to this iconic song over and over, I saw a sensual Argentine tango being performed. The dancers are wearing black, chrome & smoke colored satin costumes. They dance on a round stage, with holographic glitter scattered about the floor - which pops up & flutters about as they glide and turn and stomp on the floor - causing beautiful black, gold and silver ligjt to bounce around their feet for the duration of the dance. The shapes that their bodies & feet make as they dance, as well as the billowing movement of the dancer’s skirts and the movements her long, flowing hair makes - are what I interpreted onto the canvas. The thick & unusual textures, which you can run your hands over - help to show the visceral beauty the song inspires in me. Before becoming disabled from Multiple Sclerosis, and no longer able to dance, the Argentine Tango was one of my favorite dances to do. So this piece holds a special place in my heart because as I painted it, it felt as if I was actually doing the movements. I can no longer dance with my feet but I am incredibly grateful to be able to use my fingers to dance through paint! Painted using only my fingers. No brushes or instruments used."
- Shana Stern
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“Bent over canvas, covered in paint, I feel no pain or worries. I still get to tell stories- using paint, I still dance- using my fingers.”
L.A.-based artist Shana Stern has developed a unique painting style in a very short period of time. She began painting in 2012 when she could no longer work as a writer or express herself through dance as she had done her entire life. Shana has transformed her love of music, dance, and storytelling into a lyrical painting style that is marked by kinetic energy, movement, and unusual textures.
Shana was assisting a feature director when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999. No longer able to maintain the demanding position, she tapped into a different part of her creativity and became a working screenwriter. Over time and due to her M.S. Shana’s vision became impaired - something she still battles with daily along with pain and fatigue. No longer able to write of edit - she was again put at a crossroads.
A dancer since age three, Shana was still dancing four hours a day when in 2012 she tore her ankle. Being stuck at home, in pain, and unable to do the two things she loved most, dancing and writing, Shana tried painting. Unable to feel anything in her right hand due to her M.S. she kept dropping the paintbrush - ruining what she was working on. Finally, thanks to some creative ingenuity, Shana developed her own style of painting using no brushes or tools - instead using her fingers and knuckles to her the paint dance across the canvas.
Her passion for music has also played a vital role in Shana’s art. Each painting is inspired by and created to the soundtrack of a single song which she listens to on repeat until it’s complete. Shana was born Chromesthesia, where music triggers the experience of moving colors in her mind. This condition was one of the reasons dancing and choreography came so natural for Shana. Now, instead of turning the dancing colors she experiences into choreography, Shana interprets the lighting, costumes, style of dance and choreography she sees in her brain, onto the canvas - creating a visceral fluidity of movement and emotion in each piece.
Shana is a strong believer in the healing and transformative power of art, “I had no idea of the depth, effectiveness, and power that creating art can be to someone who is suffering, or is in pain. Not only can I attest to my own experience with it - how the only time I forget about my own health challenges and my own problems is when I'm leaning over a piece, covered in paint- but I have also seen how it's helped many, many others who deal with physical and mental challenges in life.”
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