It’s not easy to break into the art field. You need patience, a strong network and of course, lots of talent. Perhaps no one knows this better than Westbury’s Jay Stuart. The local artist has a unique style which blends science fiction and history through cartoons and illustrations.
Stuart’s love of art started as a child, when he would doodle to keep himself busy. He was influenced by comic books such as Transformers, Batman, Spiderman and Star Wars at an early age, and took animation and cartoon classes at Hofstra University as a kid. In high school, he continued to take art seriously, taking AP art classes and then going onto the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He grew out of the superhero comics, exploring underground artists such as R. Crumb, known for his satirical cartoons and character, Fritz the Cat.
After graduating, Stuart illustrated kids comic books for a number of years and then went onto design footwear for Nina Shoes.
After a few years, he left that position and become a manager at Blick Art Materials in Carle Place. While many would shrug off such a job as nothing more than a means to an end, Stuart has embraced his job at Blick as an opportunity for growth and networking.
“Working at an art store you can learn all about the materials. It’s really good experience and a good way to network,” says Stuart. “All the artists come in there and I’ve made a ton of connections. Instead of working at a job that would maybe pay a little more but would stunt my art, this is a way I can use my passion in my day job and actually enjoy going to work.”
He decided to start from scratch, rebuilding his portfolio to where it is now: a mix of illustrations, cartoons and sketches whose subjects include monsters, science fiction robots and portraits, mixed with a dash of history.
“I have a lot of interests and I think it’s good for a fan base to have a lot of different things because I have some fans who like things better than others. It’s good to branch out. I like to express my different tastes in my arts,” said Stuart.
Stuart does a lot of brush work and inks and his works are mostly surrealistic.
“I like to create a dreamlike world where I’m envisioning things you wouldn’t think of,” he says. “Some things have meaning, others are just random.”
He can often be found with a sketchbook, drawing or writing down ideas. He’s currently preparing for a solo show in 2016 at Ripe Gallery in Huntington and building up his body of work.
“Each new piece is a learning experience,” says Stuart. “I accept failure in art, it’s like data collecting and will help me become more successful later on.”
See more of Stuart’s work at www.jaystuart.wix.com/art