How I Became a Celebrity Portrait Artist

Interview with Tatyana Zen April 2019

Who is Tatyana Zen?

She’s a Russian-American contemporary painter inspired by the Old Masters. This talented female portrait artist on the rise is shooting for the stars, quite literally! Grateful to present her Celebrity Portraits at the American Icon Awards tribute honoring Al Pacino in May 2019, her career is taking a quantum jump.

And its apparent she’s well on her way. The California–based artist is known for her obsession with color, pop-culture icons and glamor, often incorporating natural elements in her paintings like coffee, tobacco, diamonds and gold leaf. Fortunate to live in the art colony of Laguna Beach, just south of the Hollywood scene, her relationships with the film industry, celebrities and entrepreneurs allowed her to make a statement in the celebrity art world and establish herself as a top contemporary portrait painter.

Tatyana’s portraits of the American Icon Awards nominees, Al Pacino, Evander Holyfield and Quincy Jones, will be signed and auctioned off for the benefit of St. Jude Foundation.

How long have you been painting?

My whole life as long as I can remember! Being born into an artistic family, I was encouraged to become an artist from a very early age. And not just an artist, a great artist. No pressure, mom!

Do you only paint celebrities?

Not at all! I believe that every life is valuable and worth celebrating! Painting celebrities allows artists to showcase their skill. I paint people of every walk in life! I love painting faces and get the likeness and the essence.

Do you think female artists are on the rise?

Absolutely! I think now is one of the best times to be a female and just to be alive! Our global society is undergoing restructuring while the social norms are shaken. As the internet and social media and the changing political climate, people are responding to female artists now more than ever. We are moving to the next Golden Age, when the Divine Feminine is taking its proper dignified state, when the balance between male & female energies becomes more stable, allowing for a more powerful and intimate expression of contemporary female artists.

What females have inspired you?

My mother was the first woman to inspire me, she gave me the dream of becoming a great artist and teaching me patience, observation of nature and love for animals. Sofia Loren continues to inspire the world with not only elegance and beauty, but practical wisdom. I love her quote on staying young:

There IS a Fountain of Youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. — Sofia Loren

When did you realize you are being recognized in the art wold?

I definitely remember that moment when I finally realized my biggest passion and talent for painting emotions through the eyes. I paint large scale painting in oil in order to have enough real estate to play with color and tone.

I was honored to paint the portraits of the 2019 American Icon Awards ceremony nominees – Al Pacino, Evander Holyfield, Robert De Niro and Quincy Jones, with Bill Clinton presenting the awards. This has been my amazing opportunity to make a mark in the art world and establish myself as West Coast’s top portrait artist.

What does your own personal art collection entail?

I was fortunate be have been a copyist at the National Gallery of Art and my life has been enriched by making and collecting replicas of the World’s greatest works of art. I have particularly favored Baroque and Italian Renaissance masters, however, lately I am drawn to more modern artist like Gauguin, Andy Warhol and Basquiat, whose artistic influence is evident in my latest works inspired by design, pop-art & street-art. I am always on the lookout for talented emerging artists to add to my collection!

What is your ultimate career goal?

I am shooting for the stars with my Celebrity Portraits. I want to be one of the best portrait artists like Sargent and Velazquez. I always ask myself – is it possible to combine Passion, Beauty, Magic and Fun to something that people would enjoy for hundreds of years? My work tries to answer that question.

What advice would you give to other female artists?

Find yourself first as a soul, let your Feminine energy to unfold and discover yourself as an artist. As Arnold says, “early to bed, early to rise, work hard and advertise”. Develop a unique body of work and tell the world about the beauty you are bringing to the world! People love art and cool stories about artists, share your talent!

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