Cajun chefs, bluesmen and red-haired women people the art of Stan Street. On his canvas, New Orleans’s Delta and Florida’s Big Cypress Swamp blend into a stew of red hot licks and blazing notes. was only after years as a recognized blues musician in Florida that he took up brush and paint. Street’s earliest art celebrated the blues pioneers in wide slashes of brilliant color on slabs of discarded wood, rescued from anonymity with portraits of the likes of Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Robert Johnson. After some time in New Orleans, the juke joints and blues festivals of the deep South started to breathe on his canvas. As he experimented with different styles, drawing on the Impressionists and Expressionists, Street “took what he needed to know and went from there”. Bold strokes and colors played out the sounds he heard and played as a musical artist. “Being self-taught is an advantage, in that doors are always open for new development. My art will always have a primitive feel to it and I try to give it movement and life.”
The biggest influence on Street’s art is the perspective of being a blues musician. Growing up in New York he was influenced by his father and uncle – classical percussionists – who encouraged his creativity. He took up: sax, harmonica, percussion and singing, accumulating credits in award winning blues groups. He tours the Canadian blues festival circuit as well as blues festivals and honkytonks of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Although Street called Florida his “home” for more than 25 years, he has moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he finds common ground with the primordial blues of the Delta, and also will be closer to New Orleans, Chicago, and Kansas City.
Putting the music in his head and the vision of his travels onto canvas are as natural as blowin’ a slow, low, blue note through his well-worked sax. Street readily acknowledges one art form supports the other and that his art work and his music are works in progress. Leaving open the question “ does the music support the art or does the art support the music?” To the fans of Stan Street, that is a question that hopefully is never answered!
– Linda-Lou Nelson, founder South Florida Blues Society