Professional Artist Leona Shanks

The Artist’s Voice on Art and Life

As an artist, I have much to say. My art is a forum for me to express ideas that are in my consciousness. Images will not leave my mind until I explore them on canvas. My platform for communication is with paintbrush and canvas.

As an artist, I want to paint something that matters and is relevant to contemporary issues. I aspire to make a contribution so that when I leave this earth, maybe I have done something meaningful. A fire rages inside of me to create art that has soul and significance.

The greatest honor or ultimate achievement for me as an artist would be to create art that provokes an emotion or inspires thought in someone else. Life moves so fast. Maybe my work will enable someone to see something they might not have otherwise noticed. I will spend my life in search of truth which is found in the soul of everything living and also in death.


Art is seductive, inspirational, meditative and spiritual. I have and will continue to devote my life to this genre that compels and intoxicates our inner psyche.

  • 1980 to 1982 Studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and The Art Institute of Philadelphia.
  • 1982 to 1984 Studied sculpture with Evangelos Frudakis at Frudakis Academy in Philadelphia.
  • 1982 to 1984 In an attempt to find answers, I copied paintings at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the fall of 1984, Joe Rishel and Carl Strehlke, chief curators at PMA, introduced me to Nelson Shanks.
  • 1985 to 1989 Studied painting with Nelson Shanks and assisted Nelson at The Art Students League of New York. In 1989, we married.
  • 1989 to 2002 Assisted my husband’s evolving artistic career.
  • 2002 First Place, Edmund Stewardson Award for Sculpture at PAFA.
  • 2002 Co-founded Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia with husband, Nelson Shanks.

Currently: I paint, study and teach at Studio Incamminati. I paint because I need to. I study because if I stop learning, I stop growing. I teach to pass the torch and share the information that I believe in. My love of sculpture continues to influence my painting and add a dimension to my studies.


  • 2009 Bucks County Fine Art Gallery: Artists of Studio Incamminati, Bucks County, Pa.
  • 2006 Mastery and Meaning: Nelson Shanks and Studio Incamminati, Union League of Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 2006 American Red Cross Benefit, Princeton, N.J.
  • 2005 American Red Cross Benefit, Princeton, N.J.
  • 2005 Cosmopolitan Club, Solo Exhibition, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 2004 Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, Pa.
  • Awards
  • 2009 Art Renewal Center International Competition, Salon Finalist
  • 2008 Art Renewal Center International Competition, Salon Finalist
  • 2002 First Place, Edmund Stewardson Award for Sculpture at PAFA

See Website: Click here >

Featured Works