First Friday Garrett Scales

Stencil artist Garrett Scales finds endless possibilities in stencils, painting

sbarr@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2013 

Garrett Scales’ work will be on display at VanNess & Fellows Tattoo and Boutique, 226 E. Martin St., during First Friday.


  • Want to go?

    First Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., is a monthly art event in downtown Raleigh. Galleries stay open late, and many restaurants offer special deals. To learn more, go online to

  • More First Friday

    311 West Martin Street Galleries and Studios, 311 W. Martin St., annual tenants’ show.

    Adam Cave Fine Art, 115 1/2 E. Hargett St., “100 Years on Paper,” etchings, engravings, lithographs, woodblock and silkscreen prints from 1858 -1954.

    Artspace, 201 E. Davie St., Biennial Exhibition by Mary Ann Anderson, Linda Ruth Dickinson and Susan Martin; “Flirting with Abundance,” by Crystal Wagner and Angela Piehl.

    Blake Street Shops & Studios, 300 Blake St., “Encaustics Galore” by Lauri Arntsen and Victoria Primicias.

    CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St., “Surveying the Terrain,” map-related works by various artists.

    Designbox, 307 W. Martin St., Brand Fandango XII holiday shop, various artists.

    Flanders Art Gallery, 302 S. West St., “Duality,” oils and sculptures by Holly Fischer; “Out of Tradition,” works by Anne Lemanski, Andrea Donnelly and Robin Johnston.

    Gallery C, 540 N. Blount St., jewelry trunk show by Karen Mason.

    LGBT Center of Raleigh, 411 Hillsborough St., retrospective of works by Rebecca Rousseau, Charles Snavely and Carl Broaddus, and craft show.

    Litmus Gallery, 312 W. Cabarrus St., “Anything Goes 2013,” various artists.

    Local Color Gallery, 22 Glenwood Ave., “SISTERS,” work by Virginia Owen, Mary Beth Owen and Galina Stockstill.

    Lump, 505 S. Blount St., “A Tooth for an Eye,” sculptures and installations by Lee Delegard and tableaus by Carolyn Janssen.

    Nature Art Gallery of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., “Nature Up Close,” works by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

    Nicole’s Studio and Art Gallery, 719 N. Person St., “It’s a Colorful Life,” various artists.

    Roundabout Art Collective, 305 Oberlin Road, “ A Retrospective,” watercolors by Betty Adams.

    Visual Art Exchange, 309 W. Martin St., “To: From:,” various artists.

— When Garrett Scales cut out his first stencil about a decade ago, he was struck right away by the potential of the art form.

His design was simple, a pattern of stars, but he saw all of the ways he could experiment with it to create different versions of the image.

“It was the immediate amplification of it that really got me hooked,” he said.

Scales taught himself how to select and edit images, cut layers of stencils, and apply spray paint and acrylics to create his final works. He’s often drawn to fashion photography as his base image, especially photos of women, which he’s found his audience also appreciates.

“There’s something else the photographer is capturing than just a celebrity shot,” he said.

“Layered Visions,” a collection of Scales’ work, will be on display at VanNess & Fellows Tattoo and Boutique, 226 E. Martin St., during First Friday.

Scales, 31, graduated from N.C. State with a degree in anthropology and works as a screenprinter. He said that if the day comes when he can focus on his art full time, it would be great. But for now, he’s happy to pursue his art on his own terms.

“Right now, I have the opportunity and time to do what I want,” he said.

Scales said that over the years he’s moved from working to perfect the basics of stencil art to developing a style where he can try to convey an idea to the audience. While stencil art often uses simple, blocky images, Scales said he aims for a more photorealistic feel.

Scales, who said he’s always interested in figuring out how things work, hopes viewers of his work enjoy puzzling out the interaction of stenciling and painting.

“I like there to be some sort of ambiguity,” he said.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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