MY NAME IS STUART
I found out I was an artist, by accident. It's actually a cool story. I was taking ballroom dance lessons at the Enchanted Ballroom in Bonita Springs, FL. The ballroom was next to a paint on pottery shop. A need for a platter helped me overcome my embarrassment, so I entered the shop. Art was not my calling, or at least, I didn't think it was! Upon entering, I apologized to the sales clerk, stating that I was not an artist, but I wanted to paint a platter. She hardly looked up from what she was doing, stating "everyone is an artist". I found out that she was right, I am an artist! I'm also a ballroom dancer, two discoveries about myself that December day in 2018!
I was pleased with my pottery pieces, but my attempt at painting a canvas failed miserably!
I had all these old hats, but wouldn’t wear them. They were misshapen, some with holes, but throwing them away was out of the question! I wondered what they would look like painted? So, at first, I simply used them to wipe paint off my brushes off. I had discovered that once I began adding paint to a piece of pottery, the pottery would tell me where to put more paint. In other words, the painting would tell me how to finish. Weird, huh? I don’t think I’m the only artist that would say that. The first hat was an old straw hat, with a large hole in the crown, and I needed to use that hole, if I was ever going to wear the hat again! So, a coral snake crawling out of the hole just seemed like a perfect fix, use the hole, add some color: voila!
If you happen to be reading this and have an old hat or two, laying around, that you can’t seem to throw away or donate, contact me about renovating it for you. Or, perhaps one of my new hats will interest you. I wear mine all the time, and often draw favorable comments. Children, well they kind of just stare, and point!
It's easy to tell the old hats from the new, on this website: the old hats aren't for sale. I wear them all the time!
Where did you grow up?
In the Phoebus section of Hampton, Virginia
Who are your biggest influences?
I really like Jacky Robinson and Duke Snider both were players on the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were Incredible players. When you are a kid you take on the persona of that person. I imagined I was them when I stepped onto the field. My dad taught me ethics. He was in Business in Phoebus for his entire life, first in the grocery business, then in the furniture business. He never cheated anyone. He extended credit to anyone, black, white, asian. He treated everyone the same. I will never forget his efforts to re-open the Phoebus Playground, when it was shut down, locked up, because some African American children were playing on the swings, and sliding board. He went to every business owner in Phoebus, raising money to reopen the playground, so children, regardless of race could have a place to play. That action on his part, resonates with me today, some 55 years later.
So far what are you the most proud of?
I was a very effective trial lawyer. I am proud of the last 10 years of my career winning cases that other attorneys thought were hopeless. More recently I am becoming proud of my painting, and my dancing I found out I could dance when I was 78 years old! Same time I discovered I could paint! December 2017 became an important time in my life, influencing my current activities.
What inspirers you?
Nature inspires me, in all it’s wonder! I’m amazed that so many people take it for granted. This is the only planet we can live on, at this time. How can we not take care of it? We share this world with wondrous creatures!
People inspire me. The Human Family by Maya Angelou, speaks about our diversity, and our many similarities, ending with the following passage:
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike” She speaks to each of us, in that passage. There is no room for hate in this world.
How does making artwork make you feel?
Completely at peace.
I just settle in and get lost in my play. Its not “work”, it’s fun!!! I enjoy creating. I hope people will find my creations pleasing. I hope they will enjoy my work, and feel an emotional connection.
What is your favorite thing about creating art?
I like getting into the detail of the work which is weird for me and then I like kind of messing it up.
Interviewer: So in a way there is a surrender to your process?
SS - Yes, I like that I am just at peace when I am painting.