Ron Gower | July 29, 2003 | Times News
Why would an artist who has had a lot of success in New York City, having work published in the New York Times on a regular basis and on Newsweek magazine covers, move to Jim Thorpe?
“He got tired of polishing someone else’s apples and wants to focus on his own vision,” says his wife.
The artist is Victor Stabin, who has opened the Stabin Morykin Gallery at 31 Race Street, Jim Thorpe. His wife, Joan Morykin, also sacrificed major city contacts by moving here. She had worked for the Reuters Agency in New York City. Reuters is a news bureau headquartered in England.
Stabin, who recently was commissioned to do the artwork for a commemorative stamp by the U.S. Postal Service, has the theme “Riparian Solitude” featured at the local gallery.
He uses culturally universal symbols in his artwork.
Especially utilized for his paintings is the turtle. He said the turtle represents “many things” in his artwork, including femininity and water.
The turtle, a revered symbol in many of the world’s mythologies, is the central motif in most of Stabin’s work.
He said, “In Hindu mythology, the tortoise Chukwa supports the elephant Mahapudma, which upholds the world. Native American cultures see the world as a huge turtle floating on the waters. In Chinese mythology, the turtle is one of the four spiritual or auspicious creatures, and represents the northern regions and the element of water. In most cultures, the turtle is regarded as a manifestation of feminine power and fertility.”
Stabin infuses femininity and water, conjuring figures and surroundings that convey these universal mythologies.
His goal is to create images that transcend their dream-like qualitites and possess a quirky sense of reality. “It is this reality that appeals to the collective subconscious blind to class, race, gender, and species,” he said.
Stabin’s work has appeared on numerous occasions in the New York Times, serving as illustrations for section-break stories. It also has appeared on the cover of various magazines, including Newsweek. He has done an album cover for the rock band Kiss.
Most impressively, Stabin recently was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to do the drawing for a commemorative stamp to be released in 2004. He said he is not able to state who is featured on the stamp, but it is “a famous Hollywood luminary.”
He reminded me that to be featured on a stamp, the honored individual must have been dead at least 10 years.
His wife is a native of Pen Argyl. She has lived in New York City about 10 years. The couple moved to Jim Thorpe at the end of April.
Morykin said she is not an artist. “I am the director accountant, business manager”, she said. Stabin, who has worked all his adult life as a full-time artist, said he will continue in this capacity, noting he will be working out of his Jim Thorpe residence instead of a New York City location.