Wien Kunst

Interview with Scout Zabinski

Scout Zabinski (b. 1997, United States) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Zabinski completed her undergraduate studies at New York University in the individualized studies program, Gallatin with a concentration on Painting, Psychology, Art History, and Post-Colonial Feminism.
A Hell Only I Know”, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches
A Hell Only I Know, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 40×60 inches

Since then, she has steadily been featured in group exhibitions in New York and abroad, notably at Over The Influence, Hong Kong and Ross + Kramer gallery in New York. As a self-taught artist, her work is a meditation on her own trauma and experiences with sexual abuse, depression, eating disorders, and anxiety. Her „psychological self-portraits“ serve as both reminders of specific points of time and a kind of therapeutic relief.

She paints herself naked as a reclamation of the female nude in art and in an attempt to be as vulnerable as possible on canvas.

What inspires you?
Honestly, inspiration come from everywhere. Every day of my life serves as a jumping off point for my art. I find discomfort and the mind extremely interesting. I refer to my works as psychological self-portraits because after studying psychology in college, I became fascinated by the way the brain copes with our experiences in ways we don’t understand in order to protect the conscious mind. Instead of running from the trauma I’ve experienced, I try to use my practice as a way of understanding it more and why I may have been more susceptible to abuse and addiction. My studio is like a little laboratory where I dissect myself and come out feeling a little more whole.

What topics do you cover?
My work is about my history with trauma and experiences with abuse, addiction, eating disorders and depression. I think even though I paint myself and from my own experiences, what I’ve gone through is anything but novel. Most people can relate to some aspect of my work, but the problem is, most are scared to discuss it. I try to be as honest and vulnerable as possible with my practice.

It’s hard because when you paint yourself nude, there’s no place to hide or garments to cloak you. I just kind of exist. It helps me accept the deepest things I hate about myself and actually learn that those little bits are lovable too.

Thank Is your art the mirror of yourself?
I think my art is both a mirror of myself and it is own creature all together. It’s funny because I refer to the portraits in third person, like „She looks happy in this piece“. I think that’s because once I start a painting it transfers the emotions and memories into this new object where it can live and rest easier. Once I am being a project, I can let go of whatever baggage I’m holding on to for a little bit. It’s like giving birth in a really weird way, to my past and future self all in one.

Artist. Scout Zabinski
  • How did it come to this?
    I started painting in high school but never took it seriously until I was in college. I was a nerd then and went to a really academically challenging boarding school, moving away from home at 13. No one in my family was a creative and my parents thought I would be a surgeon. When I started painting more intentionally, I was making figurative work. I would paint portraits of my close friends and some weird sexually suggestive stuff. But at one point, it felt like I was tying in too much of my own psyche into something that wasn’t me. These people who posed for works had a completely different life and it didn’t feel right to mix our minds on a canvas. I painted my first nude self-portrait in 2019, which is one view in NYC at Ross + Kramer gallery now until August 14th. 

What is important to know about you?
Hmm that’s an interesting question. I could list all this little bit about my art I think like that I’m self-taught and all of this is a dream come true for me, or the shows I have coming up. But honestly, I think the thing I love most about myself is that I’m brave and I value that in other people. I love a challenge and put myself through hell every day in the studio to make the most honest work I can possibly create. If you second guess yourself, you are doing yourself and your own journey a disservice.

Artist. Scout Zabinski
Artist. Scout Zabinski

What are currently working on?
Right now, I am preparing for a few shows in August and September. It’s going to be a busy start to the fall for me. I have two works in a group show in the Hamptons at Ross + Kramer, a piece being shown at Independent Art Fair, and then will be heading out to LA for a group show with the new gallery Seasons LA. I’m going to be in the studio every day until then preparing for what will be my first solo show, more news on that at a later date. I’ve been working towards that for a while and want it to be perfect. I’m a perfectionist and have been slowly realizing that everything I create doesn’t have to be the best piece ever. This is a long game, a career, and in order to make it past 30, I am trying to give myself time to breathe, time to rest, and just space to think and celebrate all the exciting things that are happening.

Scout Zabinski –,