Born and raised in Southern California, Stan was surrounded by aviation of all kinds. His local airport was Brackett Field in La Verne, where he would eventually earn his pilot’s license. A little further away was the beginnings of what is now Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino, CA. Stan remembers that “you could head out from our home in any direction and find a great airport”.
The great thing about being a young airplane nut in the late 50’s and early 60’s was that you could walk around an airport, touching the airplanes and as long as you looked like you were behaving yourself, nobody really cared. This let a young person get to know flying machines in a very up close and personal way that is much harder to do now.
Stan’s other main interests were building model airplanes and drawing pretty much everything. Both of these “hobbies” would be the foundation for his lifetime career.
In the first week of college, in a beginner’s art class, Stan was given a complete set of acrylic paints. Within a few days, he was developing a strong interest in painting at would quickly develop into a passion. In the next couple of years, painting became the driving force in Stan’s life. But, he quickly realized that, to make a career of it, art needed to be treated as a business. Otherwise, you will eventually be forced to get a real job!
For the next several years, the young artist’s life was spent traveling across the Western United States doing “street shows”.These were art shows in malls, parks, sidewalks and everywhere artists were allowed to show their works. One of the first mysteries that needed to be solved was the question of what people would buy that Stan also like to paint.
For awhile, the answer seemed to be landscapes. These were landscapes of a close in, rather intimate nature. With these paintings, Stan started to be noticed in the art world and he was able to get into a few good galleries, leaving the “street shows” behind. This enabled him to have a study income and a brighter future as a full time artist.
Stan hadn’t left his passion for airplanes behind. During this time, Stan somehow managed to purchase an airplane, a 7KCAB Citabria. He still doesn’t know how he managed to do this, but he did. With this airplane, he learned to fly aerobatics and how to manage a “tail dragger” type of airplane. Being half in the art world and half in the aviation world, Stan started to realize that there were quite a few people out there that liked aviation-related art. In 1977, the two passions came together and he entered the aviation art world.
Focus On Aviation Art
By 1980, Stan was now full time creating paintings for a growing list of clients. The following year, he was introduced to General Jimmy Doolittle. The two agreed to have Stan do a painting of the Doolittle Raiders B-25s taking off from the USS Hornet, ultimately heading for Tokyo. Part of their agreement was to have Stan produce a limited edition print of the painting and General Doolittle would sign the prints. All of this was done and General Doolittle gave all of his royalties from the project to the Boys and Girls Club. General Jimmy Doolittle was a first class person.
This was followed by Stan’s limited edition prints co-signed by Chuck Yeager, Pappy Boyington, The Flying Tigers (AVG) and many more. The last limited edition prints that Stan produced were a series of prints co- signed by twenty of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
In 1981, Stan met Bob and Jo Pond. Bob Pond had just started his collection of WWII aircraft that later became the nucleus of what is now the Palm Springs Air Museum. Stan was there as Bob proceeded to collect all of the aircraft that he had a passion for. That allowed Stan to get up close and personal with all of the neat aircraft of that era and rides in most of them. It was a thrilling time, and very educational.