Frank 'Alan' Zimmerman is predominantly a painter of California’s early history, and his recent work has been focused around scenes of San Francisco during the first years of the Gold Rush. He was born in 1979, and showed an aptitude and inclination towards the visual arts from a very young age. As a child, his focus would often wander away from school toward the pursuit of drawing and fleshing out worlds of his own invention. His parents, though perhaps concerned for their child's academic success, were nonetheless exceptionally supportive.
Alan's parents divorced in 1982, and from that point he and his sister Kate lived alternately with one parent or the other in a long series of places including San Francisco, California's Central Valley, Houston, Orlando, and Miami. This frequent change of scenery helped to nurture his imagination and his insatiable compulsion to explore. On several occasions, Alan would sneak out of the house late at night and climb fire escapes in San Francisco's Financial District. On another occasion, he sailed his 8-foot sailboat for two days alone, travelling forty miles up the Atlantic coast of Florida.
The variety of places he was exposed to further increased when, at 15, Alan became a foreign exchange student in France, where he attended Lycee courses in French and lived with a French host family.
In 1997 Alan Zimmerman was accepted to study at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, where he immediately found a new sense of academic rigor that had previously been missing. The school, which was founded by philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, also ignited in Alan an interest in 19th century history which would later guide him to undertake paintings set in that era.
While in college, he also studied for a semester at Chelsea College of Art in London, England.
Zimmerman received his Bachelors Degree in 2001, and moved back to California shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. He remains in California today, where he has recently completed his first series of large-format paintings of early California history.