Originally appeared in Syracuse University Magazine.
by Carol North Schmuckler
Ellen Sherman-Zinn ’66
Most people content themselves with one career per lifetime. Ellen Sherman-Zinn tackled four to find the one she really wanted.
A 1966 graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Sherman-Zinn worked in textile design, retailing, and fashion marketing. Though successful, she felt incomplete. Eighteen years after graduating she finally succumbed to her first love – painting.
“Like so many women, I was security minded and had a tremendous conflict when I graduated from Syracuse.” says Sherman-Zinn. “I had transferred into the College of Visual and Performing Arts and sensed this was exactly where I belonged. But I majored in textile design because I knew I’d have to make a living. In the end, security won out.”
An abstract expressionist who paints in oil and acrylics, Sherman-Zinn has received critical acclaim for her paintings, many of which can be found at galleries and exhibitions throughout the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. She and her art have also been featured on the cover of New Jersey Woman magazine.
Breaking into the art world wasn’t easy, but Sherman-Zinn went about it in the same concentrated fashion she’d approached her other careers. To gain confidence and experience, she pursued a master’s degree. As her skills grew, she entered juried exhibitions and slowly built her reputation.
She and her husband, who live in Warren, New Jersey, created a studio to showcase her bold, colorful and exceptionally large work – her master’s thesis was a 16-by 20-foot mural. “My paintings don’t reflect any particular theme, but explore color, form, and the subconscious,” she says. “I focus on the idea of magnification.
“Every day when I get into the studio. I lose myself in painting. and I know I’m in the right place.”