Stephen Pan has been immersed in fine art all his life. For generations. his family has been renowned in China for artistic talent. At the age of five, his grandfather, Bo Yin Pan, famous for calligraphy and poetry, gave Stephen his first lesson in drawing and painting techniques. Ironically, in spite of his close relationship with formal Chinese traditions in art, Stephen Pan fell in love with the paintings of the renaissance and French impressionist periods. By 13, his artwork had been featured in a one-man show, and had won the first of a series of National Art Excellence awards in China for his beautifully rendered oil paintings.
Born in Shanghai in 1963, Stephen Pan entered Chinese society at the height of the Red Guard’s power; the destruction of all things not purely Chinese was in full force. Even after the Red Guard was disbanded, it was years before China opened it’s doors and welcomed outside cultural influences. Stephen Pan began his teaching career in Shanghai at the age of 20 and found his young students were eager to study art. His uncle sponsored his immigration to the United States to continue his artistic career. In 1997, he was offered a position at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.