Stephan Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Working in a photo-realistic style, Stephan recreates iconic Louisiana images to make the innate beauty and unique culture of this area available to the world.
Through his experiences traveling the globe, Stephan has gained insight and influence from the Spanish Art Nouveau designs of Antoni Gaudi, the Moorish and Persian architectural details in Istanbul, Turkey, and the the sculpture and environmental art of Chicago artist and friend John David Mooney. These designs and images have influenced the use of pattern, design, and fine detail in his work. Though Stephan is not formally trained as an artist, he engages in a craft that speaks to fine art, borrowing the ideals of Post-Impresssionistic Pointillism and emulating the style and scale of Roy Lichtenstein's Pop-Art works. Approaching each piece with an eye toward superior craftsmanship, Stephan has elevated what may be considered whimsical material to a level of fine art.
In preparation for the formal construction of each piece, beads are meticulously sorted by size down to the exact millimeter and perfect shade, creating a detailed and varied palette much like a painter would prepare hues for painting. The resulting play of light and color recalls several Post-Impressionistic artists' works while adding a new dimension of glitter and shine through the use of metallic, plastic and luminescent beads. The illusion of three-dimensional space is often created through the use of perspective but also the variety of sizes of the beads he uses to create actual dimension adds an element of bas-relief. The finished works are stunning to regard both from a distance and upon close inspection of the highly detailed craftsmanship.
In December of 2013 - Stephan Wanger completed a Guinness World Record for the World's largest mosaic called "Une Rue Principale en Louisiane" (A Main Street in Louisiana), a 8'H x 48'W large mural.
A manifestation of Mr. Wanger's stylistic and environmental goal is the use of recycled materials for his pieces. Not only does he collect discarded beads throughout Mardi Gras in an effort to clean post-parade debris, but he regularly visits salvage yards to gather additional materials for his work. Through his art, Mr. Wanger hopes to inspire the citizens of Louisiana to recycle and to create, and encourage the rest of the world to appreciate and gain fondness for the unique culture and natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer. This labor of love is called Bead Town.