The Growth of an Artist from Unsung Origins
A Profile with the Artist Chuck Styles
“Creating art is a constant journey of one’s self”
When most people think of professional artists, we probably have an image of a person sitting in an art studio or art institute, drawing on a stretched canvas in front of a window while listening to Classical music. Today, however, hundreds of artists around the country are creating artwork that is inspired by the everyday life experiences of inner-city neighborhoods. This type of artwork is appealing, not only because of its aesthetic qualities, but also because it reflects and connects to a lived reality that people can intimately identify with.
Chuck Styles is an artist whose work is a unique combination of fine art and street art. When the casual observer views his artwork, there will probably be a connection that he feels on the gut level. While many artists talk about their artwork as an expression of their life, experiences, and emotions, for Chuck, his art is a deeper expression of the culture that he lives in.
While Chuck didn’t grow up surrounded by artists, he found artistic inspiration in some of the most unanticipated places and subjects. “I have always been surrounded by…street people” Chuck says, and “I always wanted to live that lifestyle but not risk my life doing it”.
Once Chuck found the subject that would allow his artistic talent to flourish, he didn’t begin with a paintbrush and a canvas. Rather, his art career started as a barber. Chuck says that “I really started to express my creativity once I picked up a pair of clippers. My journey to becoming an artist started when I became a barber.”
It wasn’t always easy for Chuck, however, as the subjects of his art lived a lifestyle that was both dangerous yet enticing. He says: “When you’re 18-19 years old and you see your friends and people around you pulling up in BMWs and Infiniti cars, you think I can get that?” Instead of following the path of the drug dealer, however, Chuck chose another path. “I knew that Drug Dealers only end up in jail or dead, and I knew I didn’t want to be that; thus I became a barber.”
After several years, he eventually enrolled in art school to become an animator, but he found that the repetitive and boring class style wasn’t for him. His name, Chuck Styles, represents the innate creativity that comes to him in every piece of art he creates, whether it be through a haircut or a drawing. The career as an animator simply didn’t allow his creativity to flourish.
Chuck eventually self-taught himself graphic design to pay the bills while continuing to practice his art on the side. While there was no straight path towards becoming an artist, the accumulation of his unique experiences gave him an artistic vision that separates him from the rest.
When he quit his barbering job to become a full-time artist, Chuck had the support of his wife who paid the bills during the transition period. Following one’s true profession and calling is never financially easy, but Chuck’s wife was certainly a support during this time.
Chuck’s most recent piece of art is based on Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video. He believes that his art should address social issues. At the same time, he knows that his artwork needs to bring in money to sustain his family. Thus, he believes his art falls somewhere in the middle in that it addresses social injustice issues while still appealing to the casual observer.
While Chuck never had a role model as a young artist growing up, his impact and influence will surely inspire youth to pursue the arts and tell the truth through the arts.
Still interested in #ChuckStyles? You can check out what he’s working on, where to buy some work, or just reach out to him at: