“My interest in the human figure as a subject is at the absolute foundation of what I enjoy doing as an artist”
Roy Stanton is a talented American artist based in Florida. Even though he has been interested in art ever since he was a little boy, he also studied Zoology in the University of Florida and worked as an animal trainer at the Busch Gardens Zoo for a few years. Later, Stanton took a different path in his professional career and started painting and sculpting, followed by studies of Digital Art and Computer Animation at the University of Washington.
Stanton is also an actor with a solid background in stage and film. He played Major Joe Williams on SyFy original series “Z Nation”. His interest in horror, science fiction, and fantasy is also present in his sculptures, paintings
In this Q&A artist Roy Stanton shares with PoseSpace how he got into art, what he has learned on open studio sessions, who are his favorite living artists and why Vaunt is his preferred model:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?
Having a father who was a frustrated graphic artist (his family never encouraged him to follow through on the goal) meant I was exposed to drawing at a very early age through the pieces he would create at home, and I think being a fairly shy child meant I would spend more time on my own drawing than playing outside with other kids. Even so, I think a book my older sister gave me, “The Great Comic Book Heroes”, was the catalyst that really set up artwork as a permanent part of who I am. In fact, my earliest career aspiration was to be a comic book artist. That changed when I discovered and started paying attention to fine art and pop art, realizing the potential of telling stories and communicating ideas through a single image. My interest in sculpture came later and for a time dominated my artistic endeavors, but, eventually, I found that the enjoyment I get from simply putting pencil to paper and drawing is, for me, really unmatched by any other artistic pursuit.
As for making a living from it, ultimately I’d say that I’m a semi-professional artist, in that I’ve never solely made my living by it, but at times it has contributed a great portion of my income.
You’ve been attending an open studio on weekends, what have you learned throughout this experience?
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the extremely valuable use of a model in creating imagery. For many years, after completing my formal instruction, I was doing work without using a model of any kind. In some cases I just didn’t have access to one, but other times I simply was so taken with an idea I would dive in and ignore the step of working out a pose with a model. I wouldn’t say that was detrimental, but going back to an open studio I was reminded of all that I had forgotten from not looking at a model. By the same token, when I discovered the PoseSpace website and started using the photos as reference, it was a similar revelation: it told me what I didn’t know, and helped me to polish my skills in composition and basic figure drawing.
Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model or book?
As a matter of fact, I do; I love using Vaunt for a lot of my prelim sketchwork. She does some terrific pose work and has a body and face type that I like using in my painting and sculpture. I often get a “femme fatale” vibe from her, and those tend to be the females I like to depict: ones that have an edge and some complexity to them.
What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?
I think at this stage of my artistic life I’m more open to exploration than ever before, and am trying out new media as well as technique. I still have a strong interest in portrait work, but I’d like to get back to a little more symbolism in my paintings and re-acquaint myself with oil in creating those images. I have been greatly inspired by my new home in south Florida as well; we’re surrounded by amazing wildlife, birds in particular. I think I’d like to capture many of the birds as the subjects of my new portraits. That doesn’t mean I won’t be using people in my art as well, I think my interest in the human figure as a subject is at the absolute foundation of what I enjoy doing as an artist, so I can guarantee that I’ll be continuing to utilize open studio and PoseSpace as resources for future work.
Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?
I have three that stand out in particular: Kehinde Wiley, because his paintings are monumental, yet retain an unmistakable sense of life; and in the less “fine art” realm, Adam Hughes and Alex Ross. Hughes is a master of form and pose, while Ross brings a realism and humanity to his watercolor work that is unmatched.
Where do you get your imagery from?
Predominantly from the twisted avenues of my own mind. It’s a pretty wild time in there, I gotta tell you.
Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about.
I think that would have to be the notion that there was an endpoint in growing as an artist; that the education would, at some point, be over. Completely wrong. To be honest, I find that each image, at its beginning, holds the same excitement as the first, and the same challenges. Will it work? Can I accomplish what I want? Granted, I have the benefit of experience to bolster me up when those concerns pay me a visit, but I have to say that getting that little bit of uncertainty definitely keeps boredom from setting in. Give me a new problem to wrestle with, a new challenge to solve, and I’m a very happy artist.
Roy Stanton’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheArtOfRoyStanton/
Deviant Art: https://www.deviantart.com/roystanton
Interview by Andrea Miliani