Stephan Wanger & Bead Town

'Swamps of Slidell' created by Stephan Wanger with Bead Town: Slidell, LA - Photo Credit: Galeria Alegria

Text: 'Swamps of Slidell' created by Stephan Wanger with Bead Town: Slidell, LA - Photo Credit: Galeria Alegria

Stephan Wanger & Bead Town

November 8, 2014 – May 3, 2015

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.

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, Wanger hopes to inspire his audience to recycle and to create, and encourage appreciation for the unique culture and natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer. This labor of love is called Bead Town.

Wanger’s work was shown in our Front & Center Gallery as part of our 50th anniversary exhibition, The Art and Design of Mardi Gras.