Garrett Scales {E} Artist Feature

by Christina Diaz

Meet self-taught stencil artist, Garrett Scales. Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Garrett has been creating beautiful hand cut stenciled images for about ten years.

Inspired by the fluidity of the female form, his fantastic work has been showcased throughout North Carolina including Artspace, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission’s Block Gallery, the Visual Art Exchange, and the Green Hill Center for NC Art in Greensboro, NC. When asked what he enjoys most about his work Garrett says, “I enjoy the freedom, the ability to create at will. When I sit down and think about it, anything I do will never be done the same way, by anybody else or even myself.”

{E}: Were you artistic as a child?
GS: I would say as much as any kid can be early on. My mom sat me down at a young age and handed me a few crayons and paper and I took off. She jokes that she wishes she’d put a briefcase in my hand instead (laughs).

{E}: Are you self-taught or did you attend art school?
GS: I am self-taught for the most part. The last “class” I can remember taking was in grade school. With the way things are these days, the Internet helps fill in the gaps I may have missed out on by not going to an art/design school.

{E}: Describe the process you go through to create a piece.
GS: I create my entire body of work out of stencils. Each layer is hand cut and many times I will hand separate the image. Sometimes a particular stencil will need more planning, when it does I will use Photoshop from time to time to alter lighting and settings. By working this way I can visualize images and settings in layers, and by doing so I can create a repeatable process. My earlier works focused heavily on technique and amount of layers to capture the human form, now I simplify the layers a bit and focus on eyes and hands and hair. I feel my earlier work was focused on learning, whereas now it’s focused on design and communicating a feeling or thought.

{E}: What inspires you?
GS: My main focus for the past three or four years has been the female form. It’s more fluid, has a more even flow, and it’s easier to find source material to work from. Anatomy and space are playing a more inspirational role these days as well. I enjoy reading science fiction and watching science based documentaries not only for educational purposes but also for ways I can incorporate those ideas or images into my work.

{E}: Favorite artists (tattooers or painters) and why?
GS: A short list of recent favorite painters/illustrators would include Dali, Hokusai, Alphonse Mucha, Frazetta, and Virgil Finlay. They all possessed an ability to work to their fullest potential. When I look back at their work they were either pushing new ground or excelling beyond their contemporaries. They’ve been influential in part because of the way they work. It’s inspiring to know there are limits and that they can be broken.

{E}: What are some of your favorite art tools and why?
GS: When I paint I use Montana Gold. They have a great range of color, and it leaves my pieces flat, almost print like. I love Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils for sketching, I used Prismacolor Non-Photo blue for a while, but something about that red makes working more serious. Photoshop from time to time is pretty useful as well. I also like experimenting with tools and paints from hardware stores, they tend to be less intimidating and more open for experimentation. Recently I’ve moved into utilizing texture in my work, and you can find some interesting additives there.

View more of Garrett’s work at

Garrett Scales {E} Artist Feature