Stephen Wilson’s art is eye-catching to say the least. And the first time he himself saw an embroidery machine, he was mesmerized. The New Jersey native’s career followed a winding path before planting him at the foot of his craft, but art has been threaded throughout. Blending inspiration from high fashion and contemporary artists, Wilson manipulates luxury fabrics, 3-D-printed sculptures, laser-engraved acrylics and highly-detailed embroidery pieces to produce his original art.
Tradition meets innovation to comprise Wilson’s lengthy creative process. Each piece takes hundreds of combined hours to create, born from a simple sketch in Wilson’s idea notebook. Self-taught in the highly specialized skill of digitizing, Wilson codes each stitch into specialized software, electronically painting with thread. Wilson’s state-of-the-art embroidery machines are then put to use, placing up to 1,000 stitches a minute. The process is fluid, often changing as a piece takes shape.
“I feel like my team and I learn something new with every single piece,” says Wilson.
Wilson’s work is interweaving the cultural fabric of the city, recently threading together notable art institutions in the area at an installation co-sponsored by Opera Carolina and Charlotte’s New Gallery of Modern Art. The April show hosted at The Foundry was a resounding success. If you would like to see Stephen Wilson’s art and pieces from his Americana series, visit NGMA.