Chase Von: Hey Shannon and on behalf of myself and the Student Operated Press, I thank you for doing this! I know when we spoke you were in your gallery hard at work, so thanks so much for taking the time out your busy life to share yourself with our readers!
Shannon: Thank YOU Chase and the Student Operated Press for having me here!
Chase Von:Shannon you`re one of those people that do so very many things, it`s hard to pick where to start first. (Smile).
But let`s begin at the beginning. What was your childhood like? Where did you grow up and when you were young did you ever envision you would be doing all the things you are doing now?
Shannon: I had a wonderful childhood! I grew up in Almaden, a suburb in San Jose, CA. My mother was a teacher and my father worked at IBM.
Both of my parents were really creative and they encouraged any creative activity. In addition, my mother was also a music major with perfect pitch. Music was a big part of our life!
Mom would play piano and we would either sing with her or play our instruments.
I`d play the clarinet, my twin sister Cheryl would play her flute and my little sister Jill played the French horn.
Nope! I did not see me where I am today. When I was little I wanted to be a pilot and rock star. I`m still working on those two! I think I`m going to let the pilot dream go. (Smile).
Chase Von: I`ve seen some of your art and it is fantastic! I really loved the picture of your Grandmother!
You captured the soul in her eyes so vividly! And you actually did that by using a black and white photo! Were you told her eyes were blue or did you actually know her?
I know I have relatives I`ve seen black and whites of that I didn`t get to meet in person. And how long does it take you to do a painting that requires such detail?
Shannon: I was so lucky to be able to have great relationships with all of my grandparents. And lucky that both Grandmothers lived long lives.
It takes me about a month to do a portrait but I also work on about 5 pieces at once. That way I`m always in the mood for one of them. I always want my energy to be positive when I approach the canvas.
Chase Von: Well one thing I found out while talking with you, and that too is amazing, is you weren`t born with a paint brush in your hand. (Smile).
I guess back then it was a silver spoon Heh, Heh:)
But when did you start painting? And what drove you to be so passionate about it? And what would you say to anyone that has a dream that they keeps putting it on the back burners, because the events of their perceived NOWS and what is happening in the present in their lives?
I know when I wrote my first book, Pink, Blue and Green and even my most recent one, Your Chance To Hear The Last Panther Speak, I burned some mid night oil and then some! And I guess what I am saying is to me, people that find time to pursue their passions despite of, and in addition to what the other things in their lives might be demanding of them, have more of a shot at living their actual dreams and on top of that, even if it doesn`t materialize into fame and fortune, at least they won`t have to look back on their lives one day and think, "I didn`t even try!"
My friend Willard Barth, Inspirational Singer, Life Coach and Song Writer calls it expanding your comfort zones. You have done that and then some! (Smile)
Shannon: How about silver plated? (LOL). I painted a bit in high school but did not take formal lessons.
I did not start painting in earnest until I was 32. I took an Adult Ed Class and knew right then that I was supposed to be an artist! I went out the next day and had business cards printed.
Oh, I wasn`t very good but I knew where I was going. Ever since that class I`ve made painting a priority!
I would get up at to paint before work. After work I`d be too tired to create. I still paint first thing every morning.
You have a great point about expanding your comfort zones. I am really a shy person. All these things that I have accomplished have been WAY out of my comfort zone! I just did them anyway. Some times, shaking and some times not so great but I put myself out there anyway.
Chase Von: Have you ever thought about what your life might be like now, if you didn`t go after your dreams?
Shannon: Oh yeah! I thank God every day that I have been blessed with creativity and perseverance!
You see I know what I was like before I was creating. I was not happy. Painting saved my life!
I quit drinking when I started painting. I could see there was going to be problems had I continued down that road.
Chase Von: Having spoken to you on the phone, it`s easy to tell how with your lovely personality YOU can keep an audience engaged Have you always been so people friendly or did that part of your personality evolve when you became a public teacher through out the country and world with your Art Show? And how hard is for you to handle your celebrity status?
Shannon: Thanks Chase! I`ve always been good one on one with people but the group dynamic is a learned skill. The first Chamber mixer I attended, I could only last a half an hour.
I was afraid to speak to anyone. I made myself stay a half an hour longer each time I went until one day I could attend the whole event.
Now I look for people who appear as scared as I was and I talk to them. As for handling celebrity status, I make sure I get enough time by myself. The Grand kids keep me grounded. They don`t care that I`m on TV. I`m just Grammy! AND I still take out my own garbage! (Smile).
Chase Von: Where can people actually purchase your original art work? Do you have auctions at your own personal gallery or do you travel and share your art works across the country and world as well?
Shannon: They can purchase original art at my studio. I have traveled with my art but am not currently on tour. I`m hunkering down this fall and winter to complete my books and CD. Prints and other merchandise are available at http://www.shannongrissom.com
Chase Von: Well now you`re a composer, a singer, an author, a painter and the host of your own Art Show that has won or been a finalist in W.A.V.E. From 2003 until2007! Your show is seen and syndicated in Washington, Tennessee, Idaho, California, Arizona, New York, New Mexico, Illinois, Oregon just to name a few and carried by so many stations I`m going to have to ask our readers to check out your web links so I don`t get carpal tunnel syndrome from typing them all! (Smile).
How does it make you feel knowing how late you started in life painting to be the host of your own Television Show and teaching others how to do what you feel so passionately about?
Shannon: It makes me feel great. I feel like I am here to inspire others to create. Whether you are a Cook or a Gardner or a Painter, my show gets your creative juices flowing!
Chase Von: Since I know you`re a singer and composer as well! Do you ever sing for your audiences any of your original songs? And what is this about if you don`t like a painting you do on your show you just throw it out right there? (Smile).
Shannon: I`m so excited! I`m working on my first CD. I`ve not performed it live...YET! It is coming soon though! I`ll let you know when I make my first appearance. As for throwing out paintings? I do it all the time!
The feedback I get from the audience is that it gives them permission to not be perfect!
Chase Von: I draw a little myself but in your own words, how do you think that art contributes to the lives of us all and the title of your show, "Give Your Walls Some Soul" of course captures some of that meaning, but if you could expound a bit more on it for our readers, what it personally means to you on an in depth level?
Shannon: The energy and passion of artwork becomes a life of its own. My goal is to touch the every viewer`s soul!
Chase Von: How did you come up with the idea of Sock Monkey? And what inspired you who have already done so much in your life to write a children`s book?
Shannon: The Sock Monkey was my mother`s. A couple of years after she passed away. I entered a competition that required you to paint a fish and a pear and relate it to someone you knew. I saw the Sock Monkey and thought I`d do a tribute to Mom.
Also in the painting is a black and white photo of her as a child, as well as a kazoo. You can see I took great liberties with the fish. I didn`t want the smell in my studio so I painted goldfish crackers. Hey they didn`t say what kind of fish!
Additionally, besides the gift of music, mom had the gift of humor. My first Sock Monkey painting was titled, "I Will Remember You". I`ve done 36 sock monkey paintings and that first one continues to be a favorite!
Chase Von: Who are some of the painters, singers, composers and authors you truly admire and look up too? And who are some of the individuals in your life that have been key mentors and people that truly encouraged you to pursue your talents and dreams?
Shannon: Oh it`s so hard to choose. Of the painters, Vermeer and Sargent resonate most with me. As for authors, I love the humor of Mark Twain and the candid view from Steinbeck. Composers Clementi and Pleyel. And contemporary Neil Diamond`s, Johnathan Livingston Seagull is brilliant!.
Key people in my life have been my parents, my sisters and my husband Dwight. Michael Linstrom and Janet Vanderhoof have also really impacted my painting. Doug Jones has really impacted my business.
I am really blessed. I feel that everyone is conspiring to help me succeed.
Chase Von: Jumping back to Sock Monkey. (Smile). Is Sock Monkey going to be your only children`s book character? Or are their characters in the Sock Monkey story that are going to have stories all their own?
Shannon: There will be more Sock Monkey characters and their friends will be diversified.
Chase Von: Has Sock Monkey ever made any guest appearances on any of the children`s shows? And if not is that something you perhaps see in the future for him? I watch a lot of children`s show and one is really just two hands with eye balls on them. Had me at the edge of my seat. (Smile).
Also, is there an actual Sock Monkey available to buy? I can certainly see people using it to read bed time stories to their children!
And what`s the chance of Sock Monkey having his own show and his own CD and his own career? I`d like to be a part of that! Although my kids don`t dig them now, I came up with some pretty original songs when they were kids that are a bit embarrassing now. (Smile). One was Do the Bunky Dance and I bet just from the title your toes are tapping already but, my daughter now grown, detest that name Heh, Heh:)
It was really cute back in the day though. (Smile).
There`s one in my book also called "I Bet That You Like Them Too!" About Peanut Butter Cookies and I would be honored if Sock Monkey sung it! (Smile).
Shannon: Your songs sound wonderful! Yes! I can see an animated Sock Monkey Show and it makes me smile. And if I can see it, and feel it, well then it can happen! Thus far, he`s been camera shy.
Yep, I think he is going to have his own empire. As for purchasing Sock Monkeys, there are many wonderful monkey makers out there. You`d be surprised when you Google Sock Monkey!
Chase Von: How important is family to you, and what is your take on the state of our current world?
Shannon: Family and good friends that are like family are really important to me. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the people you love and the people that love you.
As for the state of the current world. I can`t speak to that. I shelter myself from world events in order to keep a positive slant on my painting. I am however VERY involved locally.
Here I can make a difference! And I do! I`m on the board of the local YMCA and am President of the Culinary and Hospitality Foundation of San Benito County. Both groups are very youth oriented.
Chase Von: What would you say, if you were standing in front of a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet and regardless of what language it was they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Shannon: What would you do if you knew you couldn`t fail? (From Eleanor Roosevelt). The only failure is in not following your dreams. There is always a way! And the way will be shown to you once you begin and it`s up to you to move toward it. Don`t ever give up!
Chase Von: Where can our readers go to learn more about you? Your Television Art Show "Give Your Walls Some Soul", your CD`s your books? And are there any future projects you have in mind like modeling? Or acting? (Smile).
As they can tell by your pictures, not only are you multi talented, you are also very pretty! And being someone that has actually spoke to you; I for one know you aren`t really shy! (Smile).
Shannon: Oh Chase thanks so much. You are so kind! They can visit http://www.shannongrissom.com to see my paintings, books, music and merchandise. In a few months I`ll also be developing creativity teleseminars. Here`s some other links as well. (Smile).
Chase Von: On behalf of myself and The Operated Student Press Shannon, I truly thank you for finding the time to do this! I`m wishing you continued success and best wishes to you and yours to include Sock Monkey:) He`s really a cute little fellah! (Smile). So thanks so very much again and blessings to you always!
Shannon: Chase thank YOU and the SOP for taking the time to interview me. It is always so nice to talk with you. Blessings to you Chase, and all of you out there!
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