CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Iconic West Virginia artist, Charly Stuart “Jupiter” Hamilton passed away on Tuesday from complications stemming from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
Hamilton was born February 24, 1948 in Princeton, New Jersey, and he enlisted in the US Navy after high school and served in Vietnam as Gunner’s Mate on the USS Ponchatoula. He then studied art history and painting at UNC-Chapel Hill.
He moved to West Virginia in 1977 and became a carpenter after the Tug River Flood. During his time in West Virginia, Hamilton became famous for his intricate, richly-colored artwork which told the stories of the people of West Virginia.
Hamilton was primarily responsible for many of the murals we see all over the city of Charleston.
Awards that Hamilton received include the 2016 David L. Dickerson, Best in Show, The Best of West Virginia Open Juried Exhibition; 2014 West Side Wonder Award, Main Street Charleston; 2019 Urbanite Award for Urban Artist, Main Street Charleston; 2015 Merit Award, West Virginia Juried Exhibition, West Virginia Division of Culture & History and Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia and 2020 WV Artist of the Year.
He is survived by his wife Rhonda and his son Sam Belsky long with granddaughters Stacia Hamilton (Mike Perez), Sharley Hamilton, great-granddaughter, Fable Perez, siblings, Bill (Karen) Hamilton, Kathy Hamilton Vaughn, Elizabeth (Betse) Hamilton and Mary Margaret (Robert) Tripp.
“We are so sad to hear that Charly Jupiter Hamilton, nationally and internationally known artist, passed away earlier today. The void we are feeling from this loss is indescribable. Through his works, including captivating acrylic canvases, hand-built sculptures, carved and painted wood wall reliefs, and self-pulled block prints, Charly has made his mark on the art scene.
Charly had a style all his own. His pieces were instantly identifiable and brightened any area they were in. His work was larger than life – just like he was.
Charly painted the world as he saw it, full of enthusiasm, child-like mischief and big, big vision. He brought vibrance to our City through his work.
We will help carry on his vision into the future and will do so with pride knowing that Charly paved the way for so many.
We send our love to Charly’s wife Rhoda, step-son Sam, and the rest of Charly’s friends, family and the Charleston community.
We love you, Charly.”City of Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin