Stan Stokes is a California native with more than 37 years as a full time professional artist, who developed a passion for vintage cars, trains and airplanes at an early age. Model building and RC planes filled the many hours of the young enthusiast’s free time. However, unlike most other young aviation enthusiasts Stokes also displayed a great gift for artistic talent. After studying art in College, Stan decided to pursue a career as a professional artist. Stokes initially focused his great talents on depicting uniquely realistic landscapes of the western desert and mountain scenes. More than thirty years ago a good friend suggested that Stan combine his passion for aviation history and flying with his artistic talents, and render an aircraft or two. The rest is history.
Stan has won many prestigious awards including the Benedictine Art Award in 1975 and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s “Golden Age of Flight” award in 1985. In May of 2000, Stan was honored with the National Museum of Naval Aviation’s “R. G. Smith Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation Art.
Commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Stan’s 12 x 120 foot mural of the “History of the Flying White House” is on permanent display in the Air Force One Pavilion. In addition Stan’s painting of the USS Ronald Reagan is hanging in the Legacy Room of the library. In 2005 Stan also completed a painting of our nation’s next aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, which is on permanent display at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
Stan has also completed several impressive murals for the Palm Springs Air Museum including: “The Tuskegee Airmen” at 12 x 60 feet and contains 51 portraits of the original Tuskegee Airmen. “Dauntless at Midway” at 12 x 34 feet and “Corsair on Approach” at 19 x 55 feet. Stan’s work also hangs in the Air Force art collection, the Pentagon, San Diego Aerospace Museum, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
Stan has had the pleasure of meeting and working with many of his boyhood aviation heroes, including the late General Jimmy Doolittle, the lae Pappy Boyington, Chuck Yeager, and many many others.
A true aviation history buff, Stan often spends more time pouring over research materials for his paintings to assure their accuracy to the smallest detail than he does behind the canvas. Noted for his incredible detail and strikingly realistic illustration, Stans’ canvases have a life-like three-dimensional effect that often leaves viewers spellbound. Today his work encompasses not only aviation and space but also portraits, landscapes, ships, classic cars and his new collection of cat-related fine art paintings. Stan particularly enjoys the tough assignment. During his 37 years as a professional artist, he has been asked to produce literally hundreds of paintings documenting historical events, people and places.
Although Stan has logged many hours flying his own airplanes, in recent years pleasure flying has had to take a backseat to the artistic demands of his backlog. Stan was commissioned to paint more than twenty original paintings for an aviation museum being in the Philippines. Since the mid-1980’s NASA has also tapped Stan’s talents from time to time and he has completed more than fifteen paintings ranging from the space shuttles to the SR 71 Blackbird. Stan has also painted numerous works for the cutting edge genius in aviation and space design, Burt Rutan.
To quote Stan’s publisher, “Stan is a workaholic who really loves what he does for a living, and is constantly trying to improve.” It is this constant pursuit of excellence that explains why Stan Stokes is as good as he is at what he does, and is highly sought after by museums and collectors alike.
Artist description courtesy of The Stokes Collection