The Rarity of Great Artists

I think it’s fairly rare to grow up knowing an artist.

Now, I know that the term “artist” can be thrown around loosely. I mean, anyone with an Instagram account and an iPhone can call themselves an artist. The advent of Pinterest has basically sold art as a cheap commodity to be copied and pasted into homes everywhere. But, that’s not the kind of artist I’m referring to.

I’m talking about the artist that gives their life to their art. The kind that lives each day creating a masterpiece that few people understand. The kind that forsakes many comforts in the world and foregoes most material possessions because the pursuit of art is all-consuming.

Of course, it’s arguable whether or not art is a worthy thing to give your life to. But, whenever you encounter such a person… such an eccentric and counter-cultural individual… it definitely causes you to pause and think. Much like great art itself.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was one of those rare individuals that was blessed to be able to grow up next door to such a person. He was my great uncle, and he will be forever known for the art he produced. He was the type of person that was mocked by the ignorant and thought to be a little crazy… but, when you stopped and listened, conversations felt like reading a good novel. It was refreshing to be able to talk about things that just weren’t discussed in normal culture.

Last year, Charles Stagg passed away. I wrote about his impact on my life back then and how he helped shape me as an artist (someone who hopes to be an artist).

A few weeks ago, while I was home visiting, I walked over to his studio/home/art-masterpiece with my film camera. It was kinda sad to see things that had been destroyed by ignorant people that don’t respect beauty. But, it was also cool to be able to walk in and around a structure that represented the life work of a single person.

Here are some of the images that came from my visit //
Charles Stagg 01 Charles Stagg 02 Charles Stagg 03 Charles Stagg 04 Charles Stagg 05 Charles Stagg 06 Charles Stagg 07 Charles Stagg 08 Charles Stagg 09 Charles Stagg 10 Charles Stagg 11 Charles Stagg 12 Charles Stagg 13Canon 1v  //  Kodak Portra 400  //  Indie Film Lab

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A Tribute To A Great Artist | Charles Stagg

With a heavy heart, today I reflect on the life of a great artist, mentor, friend and uncle.

My uncle, Charles Stagg, passed away earlier this morning.

I grew up living across the street from him. As a boy, I was always intrigued by this mysterious man. He was definitely different than most people in our small southeast Texas town. He thought deeply about things, lived secluded in the woods without electricity in a home that was a constantly evolving work of art that he built right out of the dirt, and listed to NPR on his little radio. I used to wonder what kind of person would just listen to people talking in monotone voices all day long… now, I’m kind of an NPR junkie myself, and I see what the draw was.

I was always inspired by my uncle. A man that spent his life literally piecing sticks together to make art. Pioneering a form of art that a lot of people probably looked at and thought was somewhat a joke, but will no doubt be looked at and remembered as greatness for years to come.

I only hope to aspire to be as thoughtful of an artist as he was… leaving a mark on the world through what can be seen and beheld.

I will indeed miss having rather uncommon conversations with him and seeing what new thing he had put his hand to. I’m thankful that somewhere swimming around in my blood are bits of hippie that link us together.

May his work and legacy live on.