Philly Creative Guide

Creative Personality

Stacey Wilson | flygirrl

Interview :: Stacey Wilson
by Juanita Berge, 1 Nov 2008

Whether working with computers, canvas or people, Stacey is the epitome of a multi-tasker. She is a highly acclaimed graphic designer, flourishing artist, widely sought after promoter and owner and (co)-creator of squarebiz & flygirrl - her new website that houses all her creativeness through art, design and events. Visit her online at:

PCG: What started your painting career?

SW: Well, I went to college for art. I went to hussian school of art on 11th & market back in 1995. There were only 2 majors, graphic design or illustration. I went for design. But you only focused on your major your senior year. So all 3 years prior, you learned every kind of art. That were I did a lot of nude drawing, illustration and other art techniques. I really enjoyed illustration but never considered myself an illustrator. Honestly, I didn't really get great grades from my illustrator teachers. Ironically, 2 pieces that I got bad grades on actually ended up being televised and published. After school was over I did a lot of design work but left art alone. In 2003, I had my first art exhibit on 2nd & market at the Union Gallery with three other artists. I showed some new pieces and a few from college. I sold 3 pieces that night. I've painted, exhibited, sold art, have been televised and published ever since.

PCG: How do you describe yourself as an artist?

SW: That's always a question I have a hard time answering. Because I don't really know. I think because I am a graphic designer, I have a tendency to have paintings that reflect that. Shapes, black lines, angles, composition. I'm a very focused painter. My precise lines are important to me.

Stacey Wilson | flygirrl

PCG: What's been the biggest influence on your art?

SW: Just life. The culture I'm a part of, music, the people I know and the way they inspire me..... And really what's been a huge influence are people's comments to me on my art or how it makes them feel. I've gotten some amazing emails from people that have left me high with a happiness that I somehow have touched someone by merely putting something down on paper that was in my soul. Love that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PCG: Are there other artists who've influenced you?

SW: Most definitely! Egon Scheele, Keith Herring, Herb Ritts, Keba Konte, Ernie Barnes, Erté, and tons of local artists like Fly Lady Di, Amanda Diva, Rah Crawford, Concep, Lichiban and many, many more!

PCG: What's currently showing at North Bowl are your women* and celebrity collages* Are there any other genres that you have or currently work in?

SW: I do whatever comes out. I don't have one particular style. Whatever I find inspiring or visually attractive, I paint it. I think a lot of my images come from women because they are beautiful and inspiring and strong. And music is a big part of my life. So inspiration most definitely comes from there as well.

PCG: Do you have a favorite genre to work in at this point?

SW:Not really. I have realized my love for wood as a canvas though. That's my favorite.

Stacey Wilson | flygirrl

PCG: How does graphic design fit into your art?

SW: Graphic design is where I started. I don't know what kind of artist or designer I'd be without having experienced them both. I feel they support one another in my applications in each area. My design work can be more artistic and my artwork has a heavy design element to it.

PCG: How does promotion fit into your art?

SW: Promotion doesn't really fit into my art per say, unless I am putting on an exhibit and then in turn, have to promote it. It's helpful because I can be self sufficient in my efforts of producing and promoting myself and my art. Not having to hire anyone to do that is quite a blessing.

PCG: Are you a promoter who dabbles in art, or an artist who dabbles in promotion?

SW: Tough question. They are equally important in my life, but I think promotion falls more along the lines of a job because it pays my bills more consistently. I've spent my adult life doing 3 things, creating art, designing pieces and producing & promoting events. And honestly I couldn't image doing it any differently. I've thought about it many times - leaving one behind to focus on another. But I don't really want to. I enjoy exercising all of my abilities as well as overlapping them to enhance one or the other.

Stacey Wilson | flygirrl

PCG: You've described your work as urban/comic book/graffiti-esque art. How so?

SW: LOL, well, a friend of mine wrote my bio and had described it that way and it seemed to describe it well. Every time people see my art they somehow use the same terms to describe my work. Not quite completely one or the other but some how a little bit of each.

PCG: Your work has lots of attitude. Where's that from?

SW: Not sure. I think its a confidence that my girls portray. And it's not really done on purpose...

PCG: Looking back over your career, is there anything that you would do differently?

NGZ: Not really. For the most part, I've been incredibly lucky in terms of how my career has moved forward. It's been much more organic than strategic -- things happening at the right time, landing jobs and then clients that have been both challenging and fun as well as being substantial and meaningful – projects and organizations that I could be passionate about. But finding ways to make more money would have been nice.

PCG: Do you have a favorite piece? Which one, and why?

SW: Hmmm, not really one favorite. I have quite a few that I have gotten really attached to. So much so that I have a hard time parting with a few of them. A few that I can name that are on the top of my list are: pink cashmere, redz, sounds of my soul, when I hear music and my j dilla tribute piece that now lives in dj jazzy jeff's studio.

Stacey Wilson | flygirrl

PCG: Certain of your work really seem to resonate with women. Why do you think that's so?

SW: I think that part of my love of drawing women came from nude drawing class in college. We had both male and female models but always enjoyed drawing women more. Their curves and angles and everything made them so much more exciting and interesting to draw. And I think as I progressed as an artist it really stuck with me and became part of my trademark.

PCG: Where does the moniker 'Flygirrl' come from?

SW: When my company squarebiz began, we had names for t-shirts that we sold - tastyjawn, illadelphjawn, 215jawn and many others. Flyjawn was one and quickly became a nickname for me within our parties and around town. Over time, I moved away from the "jawn" term to identify myself separately from squarebiz and adopted flygirrl...

PCG: What's next for you?

SW: All kinds of things. More exhibits, tons of events... a friend of mine just launched a t-shirt line called firefly threads. He launched his line with three of my designs. So that's another exciting venture... since November 4th, Obama winning - it had set a whole new inspiration and outlook on what I can accomplish and make happen!!! Here's to the future!!!!!!!!!!!!

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