Meet WVCSD’s Artist of the Week: Cameron Stanton

Warwick. Each week the school district highlights the talent and passion of one of its artistically inclined students.

| 22 Nov 2023 | 12:11

This week’s Artist of the Week feature includes a big “Happy Birthday” to the subject of this week’s column, Sanfordville Elementary school second-grader and talented illustrator, Cameron Stanton!

The school district caught up with Stanton in the picture book section of the SES Library to talk art, from influences and inspiration to technique.

“I want to be an illustrator,” said Stanton, surveying the stacks of titles and striking covers around him. “I want to draw crazy things, like time travel, outer space, aliens, robots, and definitely scientists. Maybe I can make picture books!”

Stanton shuffled through a collection of his own most recent artwork on the table in front of him, and pulled out a single comic book-style frame showing two characters spiraling through the cosmos.

“So, that’s me and my friend Brian. Yeah, we were time traveling,” explained Stanton. Where were he and Brian headed? “Oh... back in time to visit Mary Shelley.”

Warwick Valley art teacher, Sunwha Gil, first experienced Stanton’s unique capacity for storytelling and drawing when she was his kindergarten teacher at Pine Island Elementary. Gil is Stanton’s teacher again this year at Sanfordville.

“As a teacher, it is so satisfying to see his curiosity of art and his passion for art,” said Gil. “He’s an exceptional child who expresses his own ideas visually, and believes in his own make-believe world. I always love seeing his drawings and having him share his stories in class.”

Stanton’s illustrations utilize a variety of media, but he enjoys utilizing Sharpie markers, especially for creating the strong outlines and deep silhouettes that are hallmarks of his style. The school asked Cameron what he thinks has helped him develop such notable visual storytelling and sketching skills at such a young age, and he said he has basically learned by looking at pictures and “just figuring it out” himself.

He also shared that he has been “drawing pretty much all the time” since he was only four years old, in preschool. His interest grew as he graduated into kindergarten, and has only continued to grow since. Nowadays, he even dedicates time outside of school to attending art with “Ms. Lisa,” a class he goes to once a week to sharpen the skills he’s already picked up and to explore new techniques and media.

Stanton’s classroom teacher, Katie Caswell, has also watched his artistic talents flourish. She said that he typically enjoys drawing according to the seasons and where we happen to be in the holiday calendar.

“His favorite subject area seems to be Halloween, though,” said Caswell. “Cameron is such a bright boy, and he’s an amazing artist.”

Caswell also said that Stanton is an avid reader, and can often be found absorbing the works of creators like children’s picture book author Jory John, known for applying dark humor in his stories, and moviemaker Tim Burton.

“That’s true! Tim Burton,” said Stanton, pulling a handful of his own impeccably drawn, Burton-inspired sketches of Nightmare characters Jack Skellington and Sally, along with some set pieces from his collection. “My favorite movie from him is this one right here... The Nightmare Before Christmas!”

Caswell said she’s seen Stanton’s interests in subject matter changed over the years.

“You name it, he’s drawn it. Captain Underpants, the “Peanuts” gang, so many great scenes from The Nightmare Before Christmas, SpongeBob.”

At home, Stanton keeps an updated Art Wall in his playroom/studio, where he hangs up his latest, favorite works. One that may soon appear there is another of his multi-paneled cartoons about an adventurer (Stanton himself) searching for, and being outwitted by, wild bananas.

“This one’s called ‘Bananas in the Wild,’” Stanton laughed, pointing out key descriptive details like the wiggling steam lines depicting tropical heat. “Here, [the banana] is being incredibly sneaky. You can see he can hide quite well behind that tree. And I’m like, where’d he go?!”

Besides art class, Stanton said his favorite subject to study is science. “It’s just kind of too bad I can’t use beakers yet,” he said.

Stanton loves science so much, he wants to create stories with heroic scientist characters, and he’s looking forward to the hands-on “character research” he’ll get to do once he starts having science labs! Keep up the great work.