Following the Stars to Freedom

Solo Show - Following the Stars to Freedom - London District Studios April - May 2017

The London District Studios will host “Following the Stars to Freedom” an art exhibition for contemporary Art Nouveau painter Heather Shirin. The opening reception will take place on Friday April 14th, 2017 from 5 – 10 pm at London District Studios located at 8 London Rd in Asheville. The exhibition will run through Tuesday, May 9th. 10% of proceeds from art sales will go to the Human Rights Campaign. Join the Facebook Event!

Following the Stars to Freedom is an intimate experience. This is a visually stunning, passionate and inspiring body of work. There will be over 10 new works never shown before on display!

Now offering Limited Edition Prints of "Netted by the Dancer's Touch". Beautiful 20" x 24" archival print on 100% Cotton Hahnemuhle Paper, made locally in Asheville, NC. Signed by artist Heather Shirin. FREE SHIPPING on unframed Limited Edition Prints within the US. 

Dreamwork Series

I started a new chapter in my life - the Summer of 2016. So much change is happening. I fell in love with using wood stain on my latest works and decided to name the series after the model, Danielle Miller, the talented designer who owns and operates The Royal Peasantry downtown Asheville NC. She took this photo of herself, and I transformed it into this piece "Dreamwork" as it is work to reach your dreams.



Yes! Magazine Covers "Keeping You Inside" Show at Delurk Gallery


Heather Shirin, an artist currently residing in a suburb of Asheville NC, is fascinated with the personal connections between friends.

Her current show at Winston-Salem’s Delurk Gallery, titled “Keeping You Inside,” focuses on the relationships that women have with each other, whether intimate or personal.

“A lot of people don’t see anything erotic about my work, but the younger crowd, the off-the-fly crowd, get straight into the lesbian-esque idea,” she said.

Shirin’s paintings are anything but erotic, but the idea that women embracing one another could symbolize some sort of sexual undertone is not lost on her.

“I was interested in showing that love is not necessarily erotic, but beautiful and real and tangible, and something we don’t always celebrate in our society upon seeing an intimate setting between two females because it’s in the taboo arena to show same-sex anything these days,” she said. “A mother holding her child shouldn’t be something that is frowned upon simply because it’s an adult mother and child.”

This series, or shift in her artistic focus, became clear to her when she moved to North Carolina six years ago from Boston, Mass. Leaving behind her closest friends and family, she felt a certain emptiness in not having those close ties.

“Women have something different with other women — something different than the relationships that men have with other men,” she said. “We need feedback or approval or opinions — just something.”

Shirin’s latest work is focused strongly on this idea. Her canvasses are large pieces of wood, and her preferred medium is a mixture of exotic printed paper and paint. Whether or not it was deliberate, the foundation of wood could be construed as the subconscious intention that relationships must be rooted naturally, and those relationships that are nurtured spread roots and grow.

Aesthetically, the color palette stays on the warm side of the spectrum — reds, oranges, yellows — but does tend to dip into the violets and greens.

For the visual structure, Shirin acknowledges one of her favorite artists, Gustav Klimt, as laying the groundwork for her composition of females. Shirin, like Klimt, dresses her subjects in ornate patterns, often surrounding them in golden backgrounds speckled with detail.

Shirin started her quest into the artistic world in the fourth grade when she began working with a private tutor. Her instructors told her parents that she was drawing and illustrating well above her age, and her parents nurtured this gift. By the time she was in the eighth grade she was taking painting classes, studying artists such as Bob Ross on television and laying the groundwork for what would hopefully be her career. Upon graduating high school, Shirin was the president of the Art Honor Society. In 1997, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts — a degree that she admits didn’t help her in getting full-time work.

“It really seems like only in the past 20 or 30 years that it’s become acceptable to follow your dreams as a woman artist,” she said. She also mentioned that in that time, specifically within the past four years, has the idea of women painting women become more popular thanks to gallery exhibitions and the online community.

“The internet really changed the game,” she said. “I worked in daycare for a long time but recognized that the Internet is where I could make a living.”

She went on to pursue an education focused on HTML, a digital coding language used for developing and building websites and digital content. She also studied the Adobe programs and became proficient enough to start a career as a graphic designer. She operated for many years, still does, but chose to pursue painting as a career in 2012.

“The younger generation sees a freedom in opening up, and that has allowed female artists to really flourish,” she said. !


Heather Shirin’s “Keeping You Inside” is currently on display at Delurk Gallery and will hang until Nov. 2. Delurk Gallery is open Wednesday- Saturday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Keeping You Inside, Reception Friday Oct 3rd

Opening at Delurk Gallery Friday, Oct 3rd 7-10pm!

Delurk Gallery presents Keeping You Inside, an exhibition of mixed media paintings by Asheville NC artist Heather Shirin. The show will run Oct 3rd through Nov 2nd, with an Opening Reception on Friday, October 3rd, from 7-10pm. Receptions take place during Winston-Salem's Gallery Hop. Gallery is located at 207 W 6th St. Winston Salem NC 27101.

Hide Away for Another Day

40 x 30 
Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Birch Panel

Heather Shirin’s paintings are quiet and reflective portraits of women with other women. The mixed media portraits, mostly large-scale, are painted on deep birch wood panels. Shirin purposely allows the natural beauty of the wood grain to shine through in the skin tones of her female figures. Various fine art papers are used to depict clothing, and elements such as gold leaf and metallic paint give the pieces a highly reflective appearance. Intricate designs add texture and depth to the works, creating modern portraits in a style that is reminiscent of Art Nouveau period pieces.

“I am interested in the relationships that women have with other women - the closeness between sisters, mothers, lovers and best friends,” Shirin says.“I capture the vulnerability, strength and romance that women share when together – using materials that define their beauty and presence…”

Shirin currently resides in Asheville, NC, where she exhibits at several art galleries and teaches Art Nouveau portraiture and mixed media art classes. She received a B.F.A. in oil painting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and she has studied design at the Museum School of Fine Arts, Boston. Her exhibition history includes NY, MA, PA, NC and now GA. She is a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists.

Holding Tight When We Should Let Go

40 x 30 
Acrylic, 23k Gold and Silver Leaf on Birch Panel

About Heather Shirin

Shirin exhibits at several art galleries and teaches Art Nouveau portraiture and mixed media art classes. She received a B.F.A. in oil painting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and she has studied design at the Museum School of Fine Arts, Boston. Her exhibition history includes NY, MA, PA, NC and now GA. She is a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists.

Women Painting Women Exhibit at Principle Gallery

Women Painting Women

Tossed and Turned by Daryl Zang

Tossed and Turned by Daryl Zang

In 2009, artists Alia El-Bermani, Diane Feissel and Sadie Valeri co-founded the blog entitled Women Painting Women. The concept came out of an online discussion detailing how contemporary women artists handle the female figure as a subject. Inspired by these discussions but failing to find a comprehensive online resource cataloguing the work of such artists, the site was started as a way of highlighting underrepresented female artists actively portraying female subjects in the figurative tradition. Since then, Women Painting Women has featured, on the blog, the work of more than 340 figurative painters from around the world and has helped to organize eight exhibitions in galleries in the US and UK.  These efforts continue this year as Principle Gallery in Charleston, SC hosts the 2014 Women Painting Women Juried Exhibition.