When Garrett Scales cut out his first stencil about a decade ago, he was struck right away by the potential of the art form.
His design was simple, a pattern of stars, but he saw all of the ways he could experiment with it to create different versions of the image.
“It was the immediate amplification of it that really got me hooked,” he said.
Scales taught himself how to select and edit images, cut layers of stencils, and apply spray paint and acrylics to create his final works. He’s often drawn to fashion photography as his base image, especially photos of women, which he’s found his audience also appreciates.
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“There’s something else the photographer is capturing than just a celebrity shot,” he said.
“Layered Visions,” a collection of Scales’ work, will be on display at VanNess & Fellows Tattoo and Boutique, 226 E. Martin St., during First Friday.
Scales, 31, graduated from N.C. State with a degree in anthropology and works as a screenprinter. He said that if the day comes when he can focus on his art full time, it would be great. But for now, he’s happy to pursue his art on his own terms.
“Right now, I have the opportunity and time to do what I want,” he said.
Scales said that over the years he’s moved from working to perfect the basics of stencil art to developing a style where he can try to convey an idea to the audience. While stencil art often uses simple, blocky images, Scales said he aims for a more photorealistic feel.
Scales, who said he’s always interested in figuring out how things work, hopes viewers of his work enjoy puzzling out the interaction of stenciling and painting.
“I like there to be some sort of ambiguity,” he said.