Q&A with Island muralist Christian Stanley

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If you’ve been to Wekiva Island recently—especially if you’ve taken advantage of our kayak rentals or canoe rentals—you’ve probably noticed one of our latest passion projects.

Orlando muralist Christian Stanley has spent the last few days bringing a new Island art project to life—a gorgeous mural on one of the shipping containers near where we launch canoes and kayaks. The work features bright colors and an impressionist style, depicting a natural river scene centered on an otter—long a symbol for us at Wekiva Island.

This ties together all of our core pillars: art, sustainability and educating people about the river. We met up with Christian while he worked to share more about him, his process and this work. Read the Q&A below!

How did you become a muralist?

I was always doing art, even as a little kid. I went to UCF and studied graphic design. I was working in that field, but in the background, I was going to galleries and doing art. I did an electrical box design in Ivanhoe Park, and it was well received. The first big mural I did was with the Sam Flax Wall Mural Project in 2018. Eventually things escalated to the point where it could be my full-time career.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I adjust my style depending on the client and the project, but generally I like to use bright colors. As it’s become my career, I think my style has begun to develop more toward impressionism. When I have free reign, I gravitate toward bright and colorful nature scenes with plants and animals, flora and fauna.

How did you come up with the design for Wekiva’s mural?

I worked with Bill and Mary Sue Weinaug and learned more about Wekiva Island’s mission for education, sustainability and art. I presented three options, and we decided on a hybrid of two of them. It incorporates the otter because that’s something that’s been part of Wekiva Island for a long time with the Tooting Otter bar, as well as educating people about some of the cool creatures out in the river.

I have a blow-up paddleboard right in my truck, so it’s been fun to take inspiration from the springs. I can go out and pick up some of the colors of the river. My wife was out the other day and actually saw an otter swimming around.

How do you work on something so large in scale?

I say the bigger the better. I’ve worked on a parking garage that was four stories tall. In my painting process, I start by drawing random doodles all over the surface, then I take a picture. On my phone I overlay the image, and I use the doodles as landmarks. It’s kind of an abstract process. When you’re right on a piece you can’t tell what’s an eye or a nose. But I like working in large scale. I feel that it gives the details that sell the whole room to breathe.

What’s the atmosphere like working at Wekiva Island?

This is the first job I’ve done wearing flip flops! I grew up in South Florida with the intercoastal, so this is nostalgic for me.

Christian will be out at the Island working through Thursday, February 24, 2022, and then our Orlando wall mural will serve as the perfect backdrop for your Island photos. Come out and say hi to him, or stop by next week for the Wekiva Paint Out. Christian’s prints are also available for purchase in Gallery CERO. You can find him at https://www.cstanleycreative.com/ or on Instagram @cstanleycreative.