Why are you an artist?
Some people kind of know they’re going to be artists from an early age. With me, it wasn’t so clear; I have always had a lot of interests and didn’t decide to pursue art until I was a senior in high school and even then it was graphic design. It took some experiences to figure out that working in traditional media -actually painting- was what I really wanted to do. I’ve worked in web design, photo finishing, airbrush t-shirts and also as a caricaturist for 9 years – but painting is definitely the best.
What is the vision behind your work?
It’s about fantasy to some degree, but mostly it’s about fun and enjoying life. You’ll notice I don’t paint anything violent or degrading, and I present my models in a sort of superhuman way. They’ve often told me that the way I present them is uplifting, reaffirming – and that’s what I strive for. I see people as beautiful, and that’s how I paint them.
With my side line of floral art, it’s really just about exploring the beauty in nature. Plus big pretty flowers make people happy!
Your work seems to concentrate on the female form, why?
Early in my career when I was doing a lot of general airbrush work, I found I would get bored with certain subjects. I’ve never really liked painting men, and I’m not real comfortable painting children. Early on, I would paint a lot of classic starlets and I always enjoyed that – I’ve just always found women to be far more interesting subjects than men and looking around the art world, I’d say I’m far from alone.
Does the history of Pin Up ART influence your style and work?
Definitely! I’m influenced at least in some small way by Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas, Olivia, Jennifer Janesko, and others. I’ve always loved the style of pin-up where the girls are presented in a sort of extra human way, just off reality. She’s obviously more modern, but Jennifer is easily my single biggest influence. She’s a friend now too, and an in-person view of her work and a conversation energizes me and gets me in the mood to create like nothing else.
Has any great work of art made you extremely emotional? If so which one and why?
No, not really – but it’s not due to indifference. I just have a rather even personality in general and don’t get too high or too low very often. I’ll be more fascinated than emotional when it comes to art I like.
What is the art scene like in Iowa?
Well, there’s certainly no lack of talent here. There’s a lot of creative people in Iowa, and I don’t know that any one particular medium or discipline is dominant. I think there’s a good environment here for an artist to be him- or herself and do his or her own thing. One of the most encouraging things I’m seeing is an increase in small exhibitions at various places around Des Moines. Usually they have a central theme, and they’re always free and open to the public.
What is the role of the artist in our society?
Life would be rather dull without artists! And it’s not only about having paintings or sculptures in your home or business. Think about it: everything you have that features a logo, pattern, or any other imagery had to be thought up and designed by some sort of artist. So I guess the answer is, we’re the people who give life in a developed society its splash of color.
Where do you see yourself as an artist in 5 years?
I see myself continuing to refine my style and continuing to turn out work which I am proud of. I also see myself building my national brand and exploring new avenues of putting my work out into the world. I hope to have a dedicated following for both the pin-ups and the flowers.
What are your ultimate goals as an artist?
Ultimately, I want to make a comfortable living through my art. And just as important, I want to do so by staying true to myself and being who I am. I hope my clients, fans and collectors will always hire me or buy from me based on the merits of my work, and I also hope they will know me as warm, honest, and dependable.
What does art mean to you?
It’s my livelyhood. I’ve found through experience that art is more a lifestyle than a job, and I embrace that. I could just as easily be managing a restaurant, grinding lenses, or running a photo lab for a living, but this is definitely better.
See More of Steve’s Work: http://www.scbartworks.com/