The Ben Gunn



Zarina Silverman is a Los Angeles artist, born in Santa Monica and currently residing in Hollywood. She began making art in early childhood, and by the age of eight was already taking adult art courses at the community center in Northridge. She went on to graduate from Otis College of Art and Design with a degree in illustration. Her first job out of school was at Continental Art in Reseda, where she tested new products, created displays, and demonstrated art materials and techniques, while freelancing as a mural painter, graphic designer, and art teacher. During this period, several of her works were exhibited at galleries in Los Angeles and Isla Vista, CA.

Zarina’s other areas of study included psychology and child development, and she eventually left the art store to work as a special education teacher. She had great success using art to connect with disenfranchised teenagers, helping them to understand age-appropriate material while teaching them to read at the same time. When public school reforms required discontinuing her own curriculum and self-made teaching materials, she decided to return to art as a full time occupation.

After having her own child, Zarina volunteered her time and resources to local schools, painting murals and providing art lessons to scores of appreciative children who knew her as “Mama Z.” She also created an extremely successful face-painting operation for the annual fall festival at Melrose Elementary, training a team of volunteers to be able to paint 400 faces in just a few hours. When her child moved on to the upper grades, she returned once more to creating art primarily for herself.

Working in a wide range of materials including pen and ink, gouache, acrylic, oils, ceramic, plaster, and polymer clay, Zarina’s artwork can range from light and whimsical to mysterious and thought-provoking. She is presently working on several projects revolving around the overlapping themes of personal, cultural, and racial identity; body image; and society’s attitudes toward women.

In addition to creating visual art, Zarina sings with Angel City Chorale, and with bands The Ben Gunn Society and The Walking Leaves. She is also a solo improvisational dancer.