Welcome to the
Artist's Room of the Cultural Museum.
Sculptor Stanley "Barefoot" Papio (1914-1982)
By Jerry Wilkinson
At the age of 34, Stanley Joseph Papio settled on Key Largo. To the
locals he was known as Barefoot Stanley. He seldom wore shoes. His explanation
was in his business the welding sparks ruined his shoes and it was cheaper
to get used to burned feet than to continue buying shoes.
Stanley was different and space does not allow a full explanation.
One interviewer described Stanley: "A gadfly among moths, an artist unloved
in a community of artists, a true individual, as inflexible as cast iron
and as hard to weld."
Below is a photo of Stanley in 1975.
- CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE -
Much has been said about Stanley's Museum. It is said
that he created the museum to avoid zoning laws concerning his "junk
yard." Stanley said it simply was storage place for his raw materials for
his art. He never admitted that it was a "junk yard. See photo below.
Now for a visit with Barefoot Stanley's visions of space.
Much of Papio's folk art can be seen at the East Martello Tower, 3501
S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL phone (305) 296-3913.
Above is the rear of a sculpture (Rabbit) that served as his
Papio was of Canadian descent and was a bon fide welder. Above was
his shop rates.
Papio welded chrome items unusually well. Most of all these objects
set outside in the Key Largo Museum at about MM 101 bayside for years.
There are over 50 pieces of Papio sculpture at East Martello Museum
and Gallery and even his severest critics usually find a favorite.
The above is a large piece, as many of Papio's are, and has its own
room in the old fort for display. One may enter and examine each courthouse
figure up close.
The above piece is 76"h x 39"w x 32"d in size and could be a statement
being made by Stanley. There appears to be social commentary associated
with each piece.
It is though that many of Papio's figures are
parodies of his neighbors who protested his untidiness. Above is shown
the Two Faced Woman who could represent a neighbor who was friendly, but
helped arrest him for his junk yard. Allegedly, he was arrested six times.
Some believe that Suitcase Charlie represents the tourist.
In the previous image we saw the USS Rebel missile. Above is the Rebel
A close up of the person in the submarine shown above.
What more can be said?
This is 62"h x 48"w x 55"d painted and chrome piece.
For the above Papio used a sink for the body, a hubcap
for a hat and two stove burners covers for breasts.
If in Key West, see the real objects and much more at the East Martello
Tower, phone 305-296-3913. While at the Martello Tower see the excellent
exhibit of art by Key West's own artist, Mario Sanchez. For a preview click