STYLO STARR IS A VISUAL ALCHEMIST
Stylo Starr discovered the power of creating something from nothing at an early age, and has been doing so, since.
A graduate of common art academia, Stylo carries with her a style unlike any of her contemporaries; bold colours, thick lines, and clashing imagery create the stimulating visual tension that is the foundation of her aesthetic.
Stylo Starr is a visual alchemist.
Found imagery, collage, paint, photography and digital illustration are her primary tools. Her heart, and her experience as a black woman in Canada, her language.
Stylo Starr is a visual alchemist.
Perspective by Brandon Wint
Mouthfullofstars, one of the early monikers of Hamilton-based designer and artist Stylo Starr is, nonetheless, a meaningful foreshadowing of her creative inclinations and intentions. Whether she is employing her distinct aesthetic sensitivity in graphic design, or as one of the radical visionaries behind the Girlswithgunz fashion brand, her visuals present striking, uncompromising tension and power.
Importantly, both the power and tension of Starr’s imagery is indebted to the sky, the moon and the undeniable strength of the cosmos, of which this artist is a willing and devoted disciple. The special quality spectators and consumers will note in all of her work is an ability to cast human and earthy figures in a light that puts them in intriguing dialogue with the Divine, the rarified and the cosmic. It is no mere quirk of circumstance, then, that Stylo Starr’s recent work presents, for instance, an early, gritty portrait of Michael Jackson with his Third Eye wide open, or elevates the natural elegance of Grace Jones until she appears to be an unmistakable descendent of African queendom.
In subtle and explicit ways, all of Stylo Starr’s work forges spectacular links between human life and the sublime, ethereal fortitude that swirls beneath and around it. Her impressive passion projects, which have included, at different times, the production of arts and culture magazines, and sprawling, intricate collage work (as typified by the 2015 exhibition, 89DAMES) are always looking to push the boundaries of aesthetic beauty as a means of asserting the beauty and presence of the human-Divine. 89DAMES, a collection of images which sought to explicitly honour and elevate the historical contributions of black female artists, combined, to glowing effect, afrocentric aesthetics with a compositional sensibility and boldness of colour that harnessed the elegance, grace and transformative power of the Black Woman.
Stylo Starr is, essentially, an artist-designer who musters the courage to render images that blend tenacity with classic beauty, and common human fortitude with the unimpeachable intelligence of the Universe to which we belong. She is not afraid to remind us of the often-ignored glory and nuance of our world.
Careful observers of Stylo’s work will instantly recognize the well-crafted flair of her artistry. Those who learn to love and adore the breadth of her creative output will delight in the essential reminder she provides: each and every one of us is capable of touching the stars and intimating playfully with the cosmos. However, those who belong to humanity’s pantheon of heroes are distinct. Perhaps the memorable singers, dancers, painters and thinkers of our history were not only those who touched the stars, but those who grabbed themselves a mouthful, and smiled.