Shaun Stubley Black

 
 

For as long as I can remember, my main passions in life have revolved around art, especially painting, and anything with an internal combustion engine. I have always been obsessed by grace, power and speed, whether on two wheels or four.  Following school and art college, I emigrated with my family to South Africa where I encountered another thing I have since become passionate about, that country’s magnificent wildlife. There was no greater thrill than to go out into the bush to see lions, zebra and buffalo in their natural habitat. Looking back, this was probably a very dangerous thing to do, but I did not realise it at the time. I soon added wildlife art to my repertoire which, as a young artist, I was lucky enough to successfully exhibit and sell. Away from my easel my power cravings were satisfied by a large 1000cc motorcycle.  The inevitable happened and I soon took to the track, racing in the unlimited capacity production class. Crashing was most definitely not an option as at the time my bike was my sole means of transport. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness of racing, and was good enough to set a couple of class lap records and win a few races. My interest in cars was further honed in South Africa, where, due to the climate, older vehicles were frequently seen on the road.  High end sportscars were rare, but like anyone else who has petrol in their veins, I can clearly remember the first time something exotic flew past. In my case a Porsche 911 Turbo at full chat.

Since returning to the U.K. I have increasingly specialised in painting mainly racing sports and GT cars from what I consider to be some of motorsports most glamorous and dramatic era’s; the early 50’s to the late 70’s. These years gave us some of the best drivers ever, Clark, Stewart, Moss, Surtees, Hill, Fangio, Ascari, and Siffert, competing in events as diverse as the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, and Le Mans 24 hours. This was an era when manufacturers such as Jaguar, Ford, Ferrari and Porsche battled it out for honour as much as anything else, and in doing so, delivered some of the most memorable moments in motorsport history. Moments such as Ford’s epic 1-2-3 at Le Mans in 1966 and Porsche’s stunning win at the 1970 BOAC 1000km when Rodriguez, after being black flagged, rejoined in 12th and proceeded to win by 5 laps in arguably the greatest wet weather drive of all time. Speaking of Rodriguez, who can forget his coming together with Siffert at Eau Rouge; truly awe inspiring.

The cars themselves were equally dramatic, from the sinuous beauty of the Ferrari 250 GTO and the sensuous soft curves of the C-type Jaguar, to the brutal Ford GT40 and chiselled nose of the Porsche 917, their like will never be seen again. They epitomised what their respective manufacturers stood for in a way modern cars, thanks chiefly to an increased knowledge of aerodynamics, no longer do. The circuits these wonderful machines competed at, such as Spa Francorchamps and Le Mans, despite changes over the years, still have a unique and very special atmosphere.

I regularly attend historic motorsport events such as the Goodwood Revival, and my particular favourite, the bi-annual Le Mans classic. You cannot fail but to feel the sense of occasion and history at these places. As well as being able to see these stunning machines in action, one is also able to hear them. The cultured yowl of a Ferrari V12 is as much a part of the car and its character as its Pininfarina bodywork. Equally the bass, jackhammer sound of an American V8 thundering past simply reinforces the brutal blue collar looks of the Greenwood Corvette to which it is attached. Despite having an extensive source of archive footage and other reference material, there is no substitute for seeing and hearing these cars doing what they were built to do.

These are the things that truly inspire me, and it is this sense of period, noise, excitement and most importantly, atmosphere, that I try to capture in my paintings. I spend many hours researching a subject and usually work in oil on canvas, although I do sometimes work in pastel, which I like for their immediacy.

Please browse through my current range of original paintings, prints and greetings cards. New paintings and art work will be continually added, so feel free to return to this site.


Shaun Stubley-Black.

Biography