21 Over 31 | Shannon Runquist

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Apples to Oranges, oil, 18 x 24.

What inspired your winning entry? It was part of a series that includes weighing one thing against the other. This painting is about a debate between what’s better—apples or oranges? I thought it would be fun to compare the two. I love scales, and I have a dozen of them, which I’ve used in different paintings. When I travel, I go to antique markets and collect items for paintings. I bought this scale in Arizona.
Do you come from an artistic background? There are lots of musicians in my family, but neither of my parents are artists.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia. I have done a lot of drafting and drawing. I am always a stickler for making sure the drawing is right. If the drawing isn’t right, the painting won’t work. I have also taken classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Scottsdale Artists’ School, and with David Leffel.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? Antiques that have gone by the wayside, like machines we don’t use anymore—scales, typewriters, gears, and pulleys. I tend to also paint a lot of Southern things, like cotton, blue crabs, and sea shells—things that are more coastal and rural. I like to put together objects that tell a story but leave something to the viewer’s imagination.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Never be satisfied with where you are as an artist.
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? I am totally thrilled with this recognition. Being from the South, and because this is where I paint and show, I can be pigeonholed. This is a great opportunity for exposure to western collectors and galleries.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? Something I have seen other people paint—something that already has been done.
Future goals: To continue doing what I love.
Representation: Horton Hayes Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA; www.shannonrunquist.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010