Old Images, New Life

By Randy Noles

Winter Park’s Icons are Illuminated by Artist Chip Weston.

Chip Weston is a digital-art pioneer with deep Winter Park roots.
Chip Weston is a digital-art pioneer with deep Winter Park roots.

Aging sepia-toned images of Winter Park’s most historically significant citizens were given new life by artist Chip Weston, an accomplished painter and one of the nation’s leading digital artists.

Weston, 67, created the stunning digital portraits that appear in this issue. He also created a nostalgic digital painting of the Winter Park train station, circa 1880s, for this special issue’s cover.

The artist has deep Winter Park roots. He graduated from Rollins College in 1970 with a degree in behavioral science and has maintained close ties with his alma mater. In fact, he credits former President Hugh McKean with encouraging his artistic aspirations.

“I met Hugh when I first started at Rollins, and he asked me what I really liked to do,” recalls Weston, who recently retired as a teacher of new media at Full Sail University and is a former member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

He told McKean, who was an art professor before assuming the presidency, that he enjoyed painting. So McKean sent Weston to the art department and “told them to keep me busy.”

McKean later asked Weston to work at the Morse Museum of American Art, founded by his wife, Jeannette, when the facility was located in smaller quarters on Welbourne Avenue.

Weston is a pioneer in digital art. In fact, he beta tested Photoshop, Illustrator and other image-altering software programs when they were in their infancy. He maintains a workspace at McRae Art Studios and his work is on display at several locations, including the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins.

Previously director of economic and cultural development for the City of Winter Park, Weston also serves on the boards of Enzian Theater, the Winter Park Public Library and is a past board member of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. He is current chairperson of the Walt Disney World Festival of the Masters.

Winter Park Magazine Publisher Randy Noles said Weston first came to mind when he was assembling photographs for the Winter Park Hall of Fame story, which begins on page 36. “I knew Chip’s work, and I knew he could take these images and make them beautiful, but also maintain the look of the period,” Noles says.

To see more of Weston’s work, visit mcraeartstudios.com.

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