Photography by: Marnie Robson
Words by Harry Potts
Internationally renowned artist and illustrator Stanley Chow was born in 1974 and raised in Manchester by parents originally from Hong Kong. He grew up in a chip shop and says this environment shaped his creativity. “The reason why I am an illustrator is because growing up, the only form of amusement I had was with a biro and chip paper”.
Stan was educated at Kings School in Macclesfield and went on to study at Swindon College of Art before returning to Manchester.
Working as a club DJ in Manchester, Stan would spend his down time entertaining himself by sketching his friends, including Elbows Guy Garvey – using simple line strokes which would eventually become the defining style of his work.
Early work included creating fashion illustrations for teen magazines but when his father bought him a computer he changed the way he worked and became a full-time illustrator in 2006. It was in 2007 when Stan’s career really took off when his art was spotted by the US band The White Stripes and was subsequently commissioned to create artwork for the band.
Stan is best known for his portraiture, specialising in images of celebrities from the worlds of music, television, film and sport. A fanatical Manchester United fan, Stan’s love of football is reflected in the many portraits of footballers.
2015 saw Stan design one of his most high-profile commissions to date. The New York Times Magazine cover featured a photograph of a metallic helium balloon depicting the face of Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The balloon was designed by Stan and then
photographed floating away on a white background . Trump referred to the cover as “ridiculous.”
Stan’s instantly recognisable style means that he is always in demand. He produces work for a wide range of clients both locally and internationally, including Manchester Metrolink, The New Yorker and McDonalds.
Student reflection: Marnie Robson
“I photographed Stan (and his fabulous jumper) at his city centre studio which was wonderfully cluttered with his work and personal memorabilia – an exciting location for the shoot. We brought along a pair of LED photo lamps to help create some interesting lighting. I was keen to capture him working at his computer, Stan managed to put me at ease and was more than happy to pose and be prompted. I personally prefer candid shots to posed shots which l believe capture the real personality of the subject. Some of these images are my favourites from the shoot”.
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)