Photo of Steven Larson

Steven Larson

Unionville, MI, United States

9/12/18, Vote Code: 68287, STEVE C LARSON, BIO & Statement of Purpose Combined: I completed my first oil painting commission at 12 years of age when a preacher asked me to paint his favorite oak grove from a Polaroid photo showing the leaf fall colors at their peak. A wide variety of commissioned subject matter continued on into my student years at Indiana University, Bloomington; but all were customer requests to paint an oil or watercolor picture using a snap shot. Professors at IU discouraged the use of photos which they associated with commercial art (I was enrolled as a Fine Art Degree student) so for several years I worked from live models or Still-life subjects and landscapes outdoors with a very portable flat tripod aluminum easel I designed myself. Also, while a student at IU, I added Printmaking to my two dimensional artwork. However, once out of school, for income I had to depend on commissioned art work and I resumed accepting requests to create artwork from customer photos. Eventually I began using my own photos whenever possible; for example portraits of children which were quite popular for a while. For a self-employed Fine Artist without a regular paycheck, maintaining a separate work-place and a separate residence was always prohibitively expensive. Combined with never being able to rely on steady sales of my artwork, it was necessary to frequently subsidize my income with residential or commercial painting and renovations where I acquired many building skills enabling me to live in: #1 After IU and a divorce, 120 yr. old log farmhouse where my studio had been in the old barn. #2 I lived & worked several years in a century old Fire Station. #3 Then I bought and renovated a 110 year old 5,500 sq. ft. 3 story brick church. #4 Then after meeting my current wife we moved to a remote location at 9,400 ft. in CO where I built a post & beam house & studio with an independent wind/solar power system. After 25 years however, just a one split second accident working for a logging business left me with a 26% whole person impairment and no compensation after a 2 year workman’s comp lawsuit. Followed by an unrelated 2 years of surgeries which included both legs, a total shoulder replacement and rehab which allowed Fannie Mae to refuse to restructure our mortgage, then steal our entire investment without giving us a penny for our home & my studio. We were forced to move-out in severe winter weather while I was still walking with a cane and 4 knee braces; sleep deprived for weeks working 14 to 16 hour days packing. Consequently, in 2017 we were suddenly homeless with all our belongings in storage while we searched for somewhere to live & work. A fraudulent realtor in MI stole a large down payment on a property that the township had condemned (we were unable to view the property or attend the closing while stuck in CO due to 3 mountain blizzards in a row). My wife (crippled with sciatica) and I remained homeless for 4⅟2 months until we found an old former Funeral Chapel in Unionville, MI where I have been struggling to set-up a “Bricks & Mortar” location. Hopefully I will soon be able to offer Art Instruction for at least 8 or 10 students per class within a small gallery in the former chapel. I will be offering classes that will be aimed at helping art students overcome fears of technology so they can integrate and use computer digital art programs as tools to help them create better artwork in real-time with real materials. My early history working from photographs helped me to adapt to digital art with self-taught computer skills creating my first website www.paintedhorsegallery.com while recovering several months from surgery for a strangulated hernia in year 2000 (see website for full resume). Creating customized idealized scenes from a variety of photos (generally provided by the customer) is how my career began and I’m pleased to note that I was creating this type of artwork “Pre-Computer” decades ago. Back in the 90’s one customer wanted me to combine several photos of a vacation to Paris he enjoyed with his wife (including painting her head from one photo onto her body in another). It was a daunting labor intensive project that yielded about 50 cents an hour. However current technologies, as many people have discovered, enable artists now to construct an idealized scene as I have done with “Pickles & Fred-Fun Motorcyclist & Dog Portrait” without suffering a negative income. Your support for my artwork will also allow me to restore the archives of my early work (which are now on slides that are at the end of the slide-film lifespan) by scanning them into digital files. Digital prints of restored images of my artwork will soon be available on my website: www.retroartsspiritcenter.com with your help. Thank you, Steven C. Larson

Steven's ArtPrize Entries

These are Steven's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.

  • Photo of Pickles & Fred-Fun motorcyclist & dog portrait

    Pickles & Fred-Fun motorcyclist & dog portrait

    2018 ArtPrize Entry Steven Larson
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Steven's Past Work

These are images of past work that Steven has done.

  • Steven's past work
  • Steven's past work
  • Steven's past work
  • Steven's past work
  • Steven's past work
  • Steven's past work