James Stacy Utley
Ever since Stacy Utley could remember, he’s had an illustrative instrument in his hand. Whether it was a crayon, pen, pencil, or paint brush, Stacy has been drawinghis artistic path. “Stacy’s passion to draw and create was endless from the first time he put a crayon in one hand and a Lego block in the other hand,” says James Utley, Stacy’s father. “We knew it was the beginning of a lifelong dream.”
By his teens, the Mildenhall, England born artist had won numerous awards and accolades for his work, received invitations to display his talent in art shows and galleries across the Southeast, and illustrated three books. A degree in architecture at North Carolina State University’s College of Design propelled a career in architecture, but he always held a proclivity toward visual artistry, as evidenced in how he blends creativity into the approach of designing a building. “Both architecture and painting start the same way,” says Stacy, “with a blank canvas and a single vision. My end goal for the final product is to conjure celebration, inspire, and spark dialogue, all the while telling a compelling story.”
After building an art studio in Charlotte, N.C., the level of attention and interest in Stacy’s work has risen rapidly. In addition to an increase in private commissions, he has expandedhis audience by participating in art shows across the East Coast.Recognition and comparison to the works of contemporary artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Annie Lee have led Stacy to challenge his own talent to new heights in developing himself as a signature artist. With a gift of conveying both the conscious and subconscious, Stacy’s increasingly recognizable style of non-descript faces in his work allows viewers to plant themselves inside the piece, take the story being presented and alter it to fit their own life’s journey.
While many artists have a typical medium that defines their signature style, Stacy doesn’t limit his experimentation, shaping his body of work in ink, watercolor, oil and chalk pastels, acrylics, and more recently, collages using an array of materials. His art depicts the human spirit and celebration of African-American culture through body movement and language. “I strive eternally to document moments in time, my love affair with music, and the embracing the cultural spirit of fellowship, laughter, and lovethat is inherent to people of color,” says Stacy. Even pieces that convey pain and struggle reveal a silver lining of hope that is essential to the fabric of the African-American spirit. “Sometimes we have to cry, be angry, and fall—yet we persevere when we walk by faith. It’s what makes every song, story or conversation I encounter a source of inspiration for my paintings. It’s the telling of what makes us beautifully imperfect as humans my mission.”
Admirers, critics and art collectors have praised Stacy, calling him “one of the greatest artists of this generation” whose “feelings and emotions come alive in his artwork,” to admiring his “ability to capture cultural depth and pride.”With enthusiasm, motivation and inspiration that thrive from an intense focus on God strengthening his creativity with every paint stroke, Stacy Utley is a dynamic artistic talent painting the vivid colors of a generation.