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Casey N.

Smith
1/25/2018
Creative Investigation #4
Beau Stanton is a multi-disciplinary artist working in paint, murals, large scale
installations, stained glass, mosaics, and multimedia animations. Working with such a variety of
mediums Stanton shows continuity through the content that he works with. He is inspired by
historic ornamentation, nautical history, classical paintings, and iconic visual symbols mostly
religious iconography. Stanton is also highly inspired by Jungian archetypes. He uses these
archetypes to create certain moods in his work through the use of mythical and religious
iconography. I chose to research Stanton for this creative investigation because I found his work
not only appealing but intriguing. I focused mostly on the murals that he has created as they
relate more toward the work that I would like to do as an artist.
Stanton grew up in Orange County, California where he began to paint seriously at the
young age of ten. Later in life he studied illustration at Laguna College of Art and Design. After
he graduated in 2008 he moved to Brooklyn in New York City where apprenticed for Ron
English, a Pop iconoclast artist. His work has been shown in galleries worldwide, but some of his
most notable work has been exhibitions in Red Bull’s House of Art, Times Square, and the
Berlin Wall. Stanton uses his work to explore, “the dynamic between graphic iconography and
classicism, juxtaposing apocalyptic imagery with aesthetic excess of Victorianism” (Widewalls,
2017, para. 3). The apocalyptic imagery mixed with the Victorianism style really intrigued me
and got me to think about how I could juxtapose imagery with differing art styles.
To create the elaborate compositions for his pieces Stanton collects photo references of
ornaments, patterns, architectural elements, as well as everyday objects that he finds interesting
(Widewalls, 2017). He uses these references as he constructs his designs. The ornamentation and
patterns that Stanton would use in his pieces would be, “putting it in places you wouldn’t see,
like the waves of the ocean” (Pricco, 2017, para. 7). During his brainstorming and designing of
the pieces, he uses a variety of mediums such as ink, digital media, and screen-printing. The final
pieces though are created using oil paint.
Stanton uses his observations and inspirations to create intriguing works of art. I think
that by following his style and process works of art can be used to convey specific ideas and
issues. Living in Charleston, South Carolina I see the struggle of blending a historical downtown
with decaying housing. The downtown Charleston area is in a state of decay. There are
dilapidated buildings next to historical spots busy with tourists. People visit Charleston to tour
the historical homes and plantations, but they are also getting a view of the decaying housing
structure that is downtown. While most visitors ignore this part of Charleston the people who
live here cannot. Reporter for Charleston Daily, Mark Leon, states, “it is easy to see that
sheltered in the thriving Historic Charleston district is a city that is still suffering from the pains
of poverty and infrastructural decline” (2017, para. 1).
This is an issue that is very important to me because I work in downtown Charleston, so I
see this mixture of historical beauty and decay all the time. The city administration is struggling
to keep up with the rate of decay taking place. There have been several businesses in the past
year that had emergency closings due to the structural hazards of their buildings that went
unnoticed or untreated (Behre, 2017). Roads and sidewalks are also having to be closed, which
diverts tourists elsewhere. Because of the aging buildings businesses are suffering. Poverty is
another problem that feeds the state of decay downtown. Homeowners are not able to afford the
high cost of upkeep and renovations needed for their old or even historic homes. This has left
many abandoned homes that deteriorate and erode in full view of the public eye.
Tourism is still high in the Charleston area and new businesses and restaurants are
moving in downtown but I wonder how long that will last. How can the city keep bringing in
new businesses if they are just filling in the old buildings? How can there be booming tourism if
people are having to look at, pass by, and detour around crumbling architecture?
A quote of Stanton really stuck with me, “You don’t have to just do one thing!” (Pricco,
2017, para. 9). I have a Bachelor’s of Fine Art Degree in Photography. I am a photographer. But
I don’t have to be just a photographer. I have always enjoyed other art mediums but once I
graduated from college it felt like I was being pigeon hold to photography. This work has
challenged me to expand my creativity in my drawing skills and compositions. I have wanted to
expand my abilities with drawing to include designs that are more complex, contemporary, and
make a statement. This project has given me an opportunity to do that. I found it difficult at first
coming up with an issue that I care about, but after some research concerning issues in
Charleston I landed on the decay of the housing structure downtown. While researching Stanton
I began to form a plan for how I could convey the issue using a similar style to Stanton’s.
No one else has seen my work yet, but I believe that it could have a great effect for those
pushing the issue on the city administrators. It would be another way to show to the public the
issue that Charleston is facing. I also think it would be a great example for students of how art
can be used to convey a message.
References
Beau Stanton. (2017). Widewalls. Retrieved from https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/beau-stanton/
Behre, R. (April 12, 2017). ‘What is going on?’ Charleston takes emergency action on yet
another downtown building – Read Brothers’ building. Retrieved from
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/what-is-going-on-charleston-takes-emergency-
action-on-yet/article_5a763f82-1f8d-11e7-9337-ab57331880da.html
Downtown decay poses problem for community. (January 11, 2012). Live 5 News. Retrieved
from http://www.live5news.com/story/16501227/downtown-decay-poses-problem-for-
community
Leon, M. (January 21, 2017). Gallery: Forgotten Charleston – Images of a city still in decay.
Charleston Daily. Retrieved from http://charlestondaily.net/gallery-forgotten-charleston-
images-of-a-city-still-in-decay/
Pricco, E. (August 2017). Jextapoz interview: Machine dreams. Juxtapoz Magazine. Retrieved
from http://www.beaustanton.com/projects/juxtapoz-interview-machine-dreams/
www.beaustanton.com