IMPRINTS – Shannon Scates

I am constantly inspired by art, and Shannon’s art is no exception.  Hailing from Southern Maryland, fellow Aggie & blogger, Shannon Scates, is an up and coming artist that captures the essence of natural beauty and great music through her paintings.  Be inspired by her story, her pieces and her dreams – and let’s not forget her natural hair!
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Let’s start with the basics: Name, Age, & Location.
Shannon Scates, 26, Southern Maryland

What do you do for a living?
Survey Statistician by day…Canvas slayer & craftswoman by night lol. I was reading some comic books.
What inspired you to become an artist?

What inspired me to become an artist…hmmm. Well, I’ve ALWAYS been into arts & crafts. As far as the art side, that likely came from my dad. I’ve never seen him paint, but he is AMAZING at drawing and very creative. There are quite a few talented and creative people in my family. All glory to my mom on the crafting lol. She kept me with a button making kit, gimp, beads, jewelry making kits, all things Lisa Frank, crystal making sets, rock tumblers…the list could go on. That creative side of me was constantly nurtured but, I didn’t try my hand at painting until college, in 2007. I had some leftover paint from a gift I made for someone and decided to not let it go to waste. This was my first painting. It’s an abstract guitar lol… 

Then, I went and bought more colors and decided I was going to try to paint something really good. So, I went with my favorite artist Marvin Gaye :). I’ve been in love with painting ever since.

I’ve seen a lot of women with natural hair all over your work pieces and I love them! What truly inspires your creations?
Thaaaanks :). My art is normally a representation of what I’m feeling at the moment and my current project “Beautiful”, features women with BIG and beautiful natural hair as you stated. Going natural, for me, was truly a journey. It taught me to love myself the way I was made to be despite what society tells me is most appealing and attractive…or what any other negative individuals have to say because you know they’re out there lurking with their unwanted opinions lol. My art is just a visual representation of this new self-love (it wasn’t always there) and encouragement for others to love themselves as they are period. Whether it’s hair texture, skin tone, weight, height…just learn to love who you are. I also got A LOT of help and inspiration from people like YOU who share their haircare routines & styles and flaunt their natural fierceness in all its splendor. Many of my pieces are inspired by photographs I’ve come across on natural hair tumblr pages or blogs.
What’s your favorite piece that you have created so far? 
I think my favorite piece is still the Marvin Gaye one…my first real painting. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I couldn’t believe I did what I did lol.
Have you had your art on display in any museums/events?

I haven’t gotten to museum level yet lol but, I’ve participated in quite a few events. My very first showing was at North Carolina A&T State University #AGGIEPRIDE in a student showcase. I showed my Marvin Gaye painting and a very colorful Notorious B.I.G…

Two events that I love participating in annually are “March Madness” at the Target Gallery in Alexandria, VA and the DC Scores Inspired Art Gala in DC. The March Madness art event raises funds for the gallery and for the March of Dimes and the Inspired Art Gala event is an art auction that raises funds for DC Scores, a non-profit organization which provides after-school programs to DC youth from low-income families. I just wrapped up participating in Artomatic for the first time last month. It was SO much fun. I’m officially adding it to my list of things to do every year. Here’s a picture of my space. I also wrote all about it on my blog. You can check it out here ARTOMATIC.

My next big project is Figment DC, which takes place September 29th at the Yards Park in DC. It’s basically a HUGE community-based art event where everything is interactive. A big playground for people of all ages. My project consists of a community vision board and a “Frame of Mind” photo opp, which will feature cool frames for people to take pictures in. You can read more about it here FIGMENT.

You operate the blog “Wired and Inspired”. Talk to us a little about it.

I started Wired & Inspired February of this year. It stemmed from me needing inspiration and motivation but, also wanting to provide those things to others. I felt like having a blog would give me some accountability to create…it has been working out so far. On my blog I feature a lot of cool, DIY projects, inspiring interviews, my art and some of my random thoughts. 
Off topic, but relates to the blog all the same: What inspired you to go natural?
I would say curiosity and a “Why am I relaxing my hair?” feeling. I say curiosity because I had never dealt with my own hair texture. I got my first relaxer in the 9th grade, but prior to that I stayed in braids or had my hair pressed. After finishing college, I discovered the natural hair world on YouTube…the best thing that could’ve ever happened to my natural hair life lol. I was all the way inspired to JUST DO IT after spending hours upon hours watching video after video. I can’t really remember what prompted me to research what’s in relaxers and the potential long-term health effects from using them…but I did. And this brings us to the “Why am I doing this?” question. I already knew the ingredients were going to suck but, I think the real kicker was the fact that I couldn’t find info on the potential health effects. The obvious effects were out there–> burns, dry scalp, damage & breakage, but I was looking for more internal effects and some scientific studies. I couldn’t find any. At that point, it seemed really silly for me to keep putting this stuff on my scalp when I have no clue what it could potentially be doing to me. For me personally, having perfectly straight hair wasn’t that serious and I was already accustomed to using a hot comb lol…so, if I wanted my hair to be straight that was always an option.
What is your go-to style?
My go to style is most certainly mini-twists. I love them. It’s a lot of work initially but I can keep them in for a while and don’t really have to do much to my hair once they’re in, which is always a plus for me. 
There may be some up and coming artists who are reading this right now. Any words of wisdom or advice?
I feel like I’m still up-and-coming lol. I just have two simple pieces of advice…make room for your gifts and they will make room for you and then share and keep sharing. When people see how passionate you are about what you do, things will start to happen for you. When I say make room for your gifts, I mean put them in a place of priority. Carve time out in your schedule to cultivate them. Take some classes, etc…and those gifts will make room for you. Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” Create…then share. Anywhere. Wherever the opportunities present themselves. And stay humble…that’s three things. 
What are your ultimate goals in life?
I know that I want to use my gifts to inspire and uplift others, I’m just not all the way sure how that is going to happen yet. I’m following His lead for now. I’m currently teaching an arts & crafts workshop for kids at my church. Oh…and I know that one day I want to have my own art gallery with a twist ;)…watch out for that lol. I’ve also wanted to be a GREAT wife and a mom since I was like 5 lol…there’s another one. In all seriousness, I just want to discover God’s purpose for creating me and putting me in this place and time and knock the task out the park. “Servant well done.” That’s my ultimate goal.
Anything else you want to share?
All my artwork is for sale and I plan on having an online “yard sale” for my crafts real soon. My space is getting cluttered. It’s time to offload. I’m creating my art website on my own, so it’s taking some time and I just recently learned some new information that may cause this to take a little longer : /…but it’s coming. In the meantime, all my artwork is available for your viewing pleasure on my Facebook fan page and again…it is all for sale. For any inquiries on my art or crafts, email me at I’m also on twitter and instagram as @unparalleledart and be sure to check out my blog, Wired & Inspired.

Thanks for the opportunity pRoy! Loving your blog :)!!

Thank you, Shannon!

Check out my feature on her blog here.