Alta Live: Illustrator Stanley Chow

From his portraits of the New Yorker’s writers to his images of Netflix’s Peaky Blinders series for billboards, the artist’s style is instantly recognizable.

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Stanley Chow is known for his deceptively simple, geometric portraits that capture their subjects’ likeness through shapes and symmetry. His signature style began as “essentially a hobby,” Chow told Alta Live from his home in Manchester, England. “I used to draw people with four or five lines, really simple, and capture their essence. But it just didn’t look finished,” he said. “When I started working digitally, it basically gave those simple line drawings more of a finished look. I had that style in my head, and when I started it, it was a case of letting it evolve.” Chow creates author portraits for Alta and the New Yorker as well as commissions for major newspapers, magazines, entertainers, television shows, and more. He’s also dabbled in NFTs, creating a collection of avatars numbering in the billions that customers can use to personalize and mint their own unique "Chowie" (though the project is currently on hold while the cryptocurrency market recovers).

And if Chow has illustrated you, he’s probably stalked you on the internet as well. “I need to see as many pictures of one person just to figure out what their true image is,” he said, noting that in a perfect world, he’d be able to meet every person he illustrates. “In real life you get all the expressions, and you can also find nuances that the average person doesn’t see, but as an illustrator, I’ll be able to find certain things that make that person them.” But the face that has proved the most elusive might surprise you: that of famously expressive comedian Chris Rock.

Check out these links to some of the topics Chow and Spotswood brought up this week.

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