By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Mac Stewart, rising artist
By Theresa Rice

Painter and muralist Mac Stewart is making serious headway in his chosen profession, the one he decided on at seventeen when he began to homeschool so he would have time to paint.

He took two years to begin teaching himself his craft, painting every day and studying the art of Twentieth Century masters. His ardent pursuit of knowledge, skill, and vision—coupled with his amazing ability to focus—has paid dividends. The twenty-one-year-old is fast racking up achievements at home and afield. 

mac190Left: Artist Mac Stewart smiles, pleased with the installation of Midnight Garden, his first solo museum exhibit. The twenty-one-year-old’s work will be on display at the Mason-Scharfenstein Gallery until Friday, August 26.

•Mac is the youngest artist represented in the High Museum of Art permanent collection, with two pieces acquired at twenty. 

•He was one of eighteen internationally invited artists at Atlanta’s Living Walls 2014, the year he turned nineteen, their youngest artist ever. Stewart rocked a twenty-by-one hundred foot wall on Forsyth Street. 

•He donated a mural to Lithonia’s Salem Middle School. 

•He’s done mega international art fair, Art Basel Miami, for three years, and assisted noted artists Shepherd Farey and Cleon Peterson on their projects. For the past two years he has done his own murals in Wynwood Arts District, known for large scale murals by internationally famous artists. 

•He just completed an outdoor mural in Grant Park for the Outerspace Project Big Bang Block Party, a one day art happening at Terminal West. 

Stewart worked for six months on his first solo museum exhibition for the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art (MSMA) at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. It’s called Midnight Garden. Eight canvases, each six feet square, are designed and arranged to reach toward each other across the main floor gallery. Strong black-on-white graphic bars form a kind of Post-Modern architectural trellis to hold gigantic stylized flowers. Three towering columns are Stewart’s first venture into three-dimensional art. They are dark and imposing, eight feet high, standing like neo Op Art garden posts. 

A solo museum exhibit is an amazing plum for any living artist, never mind one freshly turned twenty-one. When asked about showcasing such a young self-taught artist, former MSMA director Daniel White said, “My reasoning is wow—we better have him now because I don’t think we could get him in another five years.”  White also wanted Piedmont art undergrads to see what someone their age has accomplished, so Mac will meet students to discuss his art practices. 

Midnight Garden, up through MSMA’s summer season, is worth the short road trip to Demorest. Visitors can meet Mac at a reception August 25, 5 to 7 p.m. The show closes Friday, August 26. MSMA is at 567 Georgia Street, Demorest GA 30535. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. Call 706-894-4201 for information.

What’s next for this intrepid young man with big visions? He’s looking around for a place to put a new project that’s on his mind, his next generation of three dimensional art—eighty foot tall columns standing in a desert landscape. No one who knows what he’s accomplished has any doubt he’ll make it happen.