Local Artist Wins Painting Awards

Local Artist Wins Painting Awards

When local artist, Nick Stamas, found out he had won the Painter of the Year award at the “Art Comes Alive” competition, he was shocked. 

“Driving home, I thought, ‘What just happened?’” Stamas says. “I had to tell somebody, so I called my grown daughter. I’m pretty sure I woke her up.” 

Stamas has been painting and illustrating since he was eight years old. But he got his first taste of success in the seventh grade when he won a national safety poster contest. That win inspired him to continue with his art. 

One of his mentors was Willis “Bing” Davis, Stamas’ high school teacher and an award-winning contemporary artist. 

“He showed me the joy of art and how regardless of the outcome — whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent — being an artist is fun. That’s a great lesson,” Stamas says. “We formed a bond that we share to this day.” 

In his 20s, Stamas worked at an advertising agency in Dayton called Wanamaker Advertising Arts, where he did design, illustration and production art. Though he enjoyed all aspects of art, illustrating and painting remained his favorite genres. 

Earlier this year, Stamas decided to experiment with color and create a 36-inch-by-44-inch painting titled “Love Dance.” Before this, the pieces he had been working on were more mono- chromatic. His panting centered on dance because the discipline involved so much rhythm and movement. 

“Many artists would rather do landscapes, cows, goats, and things you don’t have to make look pretty,” he says. “With figurative work, it’s easy to go wrong and hard to get right, but I enjoy the challenge.” 

Stamas entered “Love Dance” into the annual Art Comes Alive competition. The painting was purchased by a former ballet dancer and art collector in Mount Adams. Then he was invited to the awards ceremony to accept a certificate for the accomplishment.

About 250 artists attended the November awards ceremony at ADC Fine Art. At the ceremony, Stamas won the runner- up award for Painting of the Year, runner-up for the Painter of the Year and won Venue Magazine’s William W. Duebber award. 

While artists celebrate the outcome of a finished piece, they relish the process as well. He loves his craft but admits it can be challenging. Just as writers can suffer writer’s block, so can visual artists be stifled by artist’s block. 

“When you paint something, and it doesn’t seem to go right, you’re not satisfied internally,” Stamas says. “Even if people give you accolades, you know when it’s not there yet. But when you hit it, you know. I really enjoy that moment.” 

Stamas has always cared about creating art that is relevant. One of his most memorable pieces was an advertisement he did in 1970 for a pharmaceutical company. The Cincinnati company had hired Stamas’ agency to produce a painting that depicted depression, so Stamas painted a young female in a rowboat with a moon above her at night. 

“Her reflection was in the water, and it was an exact duplication of what was on top. Except on top, she was awake, and on the bottom, she was asleep,” Stamas says. “It showed what happens when you’re depressed.” 

That piece won a prestigious national award from the New York Society of Illustrators. 

“I like making art that’s unique,” Stamas says. He just completed two more dancing paintings — one called “The Practice” and the other called “At the Bar.” Now that Stamas has been painting for more than six decades, he’s content to paint for himself. 

“If something sells, great,” he says. “I just like the process.” 

Want to see or purchase Nick Stamas’ artwork? Visit nickstamasartist.com.

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