Fresh off a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State in Anthropology, Garrett Scales was ready to take on the world — with a box cutter? Don’t be alarmed, his preferred cutting medium is plastic. His journey into the art world shows that sometimes our inner creative person comes out later in life, and when it does, we should dive in head first.
His first spark of creativity came by chance when he helped move a friend to California. There, he happened upon a magazine that featured a local stencil artist and showed the methods he used. The technique was not only impressive, but the pieces were more of an expression of activism, and that struck a chord with Scales.
“All he had was a box cutter, some cardboard, spray paint and something to spray on, and I’m thinking that is really cool”, says Scales. It would take some years later for him to make his first cut, but it was that experience that motivated him. “The only art class I ever took was in high school,” he jokes. “It was most likely drawing the dreaded bowl of fruit.” But after watching some Youtube tutorial videos, Scales artistic adventure exploded.
Online videos and standard art classes can take you only so far. That is when some veteran Oak City artists stepped in to help guide and encourage Scales in his journey. “My friend Matt Curran helped push me. I was used to doing small pieces, but when we had a show together, he kept pushing me to go bigger and bigger,” he says.
That support helped Scales sell one of the largest and most detailed pieces he had ever created. He laughs, “When the guy purchased it, I was like holy crap! To have someone appreciate the time and effort you put into a piece and actually pay for it, that’s a great feeling.”
In addition, Scales says Oak City Hustle’s own Sean Kernick has greatly influenced and helped him. At a loss for words, he couldn’t express how grateful he is for Kernick and Curran.
When it comes to his artwork, Scales draws from nature and his fondness of the human form. As you closely study the subjects of his art, you cannot deny his anthropological influence. “I studied so many different people and the history of their art — small things like that stuck with me.”
As for technique, you normally think exacto knife and paper when thinking of stencils. Instead of doing what’s normal, you sometimes need to do what feels right. “With my style and the way I cut, using a box cutter on plastic just seems more fluid to me,” he explains. The exacto vs. box cutter and paper vs. plastic debate has been fun banter between Scales and Curran for years. But no matter how ou cut it, his results speak for themselves.
So next time you’re in the hardware store and pass by the utility knife section, instead of thinking about how fast you can open up a delivery box from Amazon, take a page from Scales book and see a tool that opens up a world of creative possibilities.
Check out more work from Garrett along with an online store at: GarrettScales.com