Stella was created in 2016 when Charles Hart Benton moved from California to live in the quaint town of Rhinecliff in Upstate New York. Working in his in home studio overlooking the Hudson river and the gorgeous Catskill mountains, he wanted to be truly creative and move away from basic blank faced models that he had drawn for years in the industry, and create an entirely new “real” character.
Inspired by his love for fashion, Goth, British culture, costume, romance, Victorian, & Edwardian design; he wanted to create a character that combined all these things into one sweet, “doll” of a girl. Charles wanted the main focus be her large disproportional eyes, "like a modern day Betty Boop".
So his British girl Stella was “born”. He imagined her living in Oxfordshire, England but traveling around the world and living in American costal states. Charles Hart Benton saw Stella always wearing the latest runway fashions in her own unique way. He believes that fashion is art, so it makes perfect sense to create artistic illustrations in this style.
The first Stella illustration released on Instagram wore a gorgeous look from the Fall 2016 Valentino runway. The illustration was warmly received and even shared by Maison Valentino. From there Stella evolved and morphed as Charles Hart Benton created countless designs, and even created new wide eyed “friends” to live in Stella's whimsical, eclectic world.
Sassy Barbala is a New Yorker that travels to London often. Like so many city fashionistas, she dresses well to celebrate fashion. She is intelligent, sharp, and sweet. Unlike Stella, she embraces her darker side loving her fear and inner monsters. This character allows Charles to express his love of goth and mysterious motifs. "She may have the latest couture outfit, but she has her monsters just like the rest of us. It' a reality check to bring a more human side to my characters."
Ndew, his newest character, is from Ethiopia. A model friend of Stella discovered in London.
She is an Anglophile, and aware of her demons, but down to earth, keeps it fun, & loves fashion. It is easy to see how she is friends with Barbala and Stella because there is a bit of both of them in her personality.
Charles Hart Benton continues to create new illustrations every day. He is excited to offer his one of a kind original illustrations upon request, reproduce his work in archival prints, and promote his new book 'The Illustrious Work of Charles Hart Benton'.