The Metal Canvas

I'm very excited because this is the first magazine that has given me a section to feature my artwork every issue.  My section will be called "The Metal Canvas" which will give readers a chance to hear my thoughts on different automotive related mural projects that I've worked on.  Most people only get to see the nice & shiny finished product, but they have no idea what i go thru to complete these works of art.  You get to hear how good, bad, & sometimes horribly horibly wrong things can go while working on a project.  Here is my first Article from "Custom Whipz" Magazine, I hope you enjoy:

My name is Craig Stanley, and most just call me Stanley. I'm a self-taught artist that has been painting professionally for over 16yrs now. My primary tool of choice has been the airbrush, which is what has led me to painting custom murals & graphics on vehicles. I started airbrushing on vehicles about 5 yrs ago, and this automotive market has become a catalyst to my career and artistic creativity as a whole. Since starting to paint in the automotive industry, I have had the opportunity to paint for major corporations, celebrities, movies/television, and car & bike enthusiasts of all kinds. Unlike all other individuals that I've painted for over the years, automobile owners desire more creativity, they expect the highest level of artistic skill to be used in painting or recreating the unique vision they have for their vehicles. We live in an era where "individualizing" yourself has become very important. You can't just be like everyone else, you have to set yourself apart from the masses and look totally unique and original. This is where I come in - because no one wants to have just a stock ride anymore.

What normally happens is that someone will call me and say they have an idea that they want to put on their vehicle. Others may have seen my work somewhere and want something painted on their ride. What I will do then is help them to develop their idea more, and paint something from the mild and subdued to the loud and outstanding. Most realize that by giving me, as an artist, the control and freedom to be creative, they will get far more than they ever could have imagined. My goal is not only to please the customer, but to exceed expectations.

One of my recent projects was a box Chevy Caprice that I named the "A" Car, because it was to represent everything Atlanta had to offer, past & present. This project started out very vague as far as what images the client wished to be put on the car. He simply stated to me in the beginning that he wanted a car that stood for everything memorable about Atlanta because this is his hometown. I've only lived in Atlanta since 1998 so my input in the city could only go back that far, but the client wanted so much more. Not only was the car to be filled with images that represented the present-day Atlanta, but also of the Atlanta that no longer exists. This is when the project became most frustrating, because with only a few images at first, the car looked empty.

My only option was to go around and ask as many people as I could find that were born and raised here in Atlanta what they wanted to see on the car, and what images they felt really represented their home. Before I knew it, the car became the talk of the town. There were so many people that heard about this project and wanted to come by the shop to see it and to give their viewpoint of what was missing.

The car started out with just a few tourist spots, but before I knew it, the mural possessed everything from the music record labels to the local project homes many grew up around. Oh and not to mention, he asked me to design a one of a kind set of wheels that would be specially made for the car. I drew up the design that we sent off to get produced, it was an "A" that was balanced so that as the car is moving the "A" on the wheel stays still and upright at all times.

This was the longest project I have ever worked on in my life. Most car or bike projects, I'm able to complete in no more than a week. This project surprisingly took me about 6 weeks to complete. When finished, I felt like I had truly put my all into this mural and that everyone that saw it would get lost trying to find everything painted in the car. Well that's exactly what happened. The first unveiling of the "A" car was at the DUB magazine car show where the audience reception was phenomenal! Not only did it have the biggest crowd around it than any other car in the building at all times, but it won several awards that night, including the "People's Choice" award.

Now that many more shows and events have passed it doesn't matter if it's in a music video or a magazine, my true gratification comes from watching all the hundreds of people that have walked around the car, trying to find everything they recognize. Many of the images on the car are of places that individuals remember about the Atlanta that they grew up in - places that are no longer here. The reactions I get from people is what really makes that car so special, and what makes me keep doing what I have been blessed to be able to do - to make people happy through my ability to paint.