Scott Debus was born in Queens, NY. Born deaf, he was taught visually and kept a visual journal until his hearing was restored in second grade. The time he spent concentrating on people’s faces and body language began his fascination with expressing the human face and figure, and his artistic training only fed that fascination.
Debus studied at S.U.N.Y New Paltz and the New York Studio School. He began his career with a series (continuing today) of large-scale, bimorphic paintings representing the faces of people well known by their names yet unrecognized on the street, such as Albert Camus. More recent studies have featured musicians and dancers and explored the form and interaction of the elements of the bodies as they react to each other yet move together in harmony. After moving to Charleston in 2006, he opened The Bogard Street Gallery and co-founded and curated the wildly popular Kulture Klash, a bi-annual, multi-disciplinary art event featuring Charleston’s most contemporary artists. He has had solo and group exhibitions in Charlotte, New York, and Miami, where, after staging a pop-up gallery in a flatbed in for 2010’s Art Basel, he has been invited to return for a third year. He has recently moved to Austin, where he hopes to continue his collaborative, multimedia projects within an even larger and more vibrant community.
Debus’ technique and style combine his rigorous training in figurative and abstract painting with the underground graffiti of his early years. His media – oils, acrylics, watercolor, spray-paint, Japanese enamel, cardboard, stretched canvas, wood panel, found objects and glass – is fairly unlimited. Before approaching a canvas he will typically spend a few moments or longer sketching random objects from his environment. Whether this is a cup or a face in a photo lying around, this effort conjures his imagination and allows it a chance to play. These strokes usually find the development of expression resulting in a face or figurative form. Quick brushstrokes, sudden intuition and a belief that humanity is intertwined are all hallmarks of his work. Debus’s chief pleasure in life is becoming part of the holistic creative experience, whether it is a concrete pre-determined concept, an idea improvised as he approaches the canvas, or a collaboration with other artists and media.