“Start painting what you love.” An interview with artist Steven Walker


Steven Walker is a professional artist whose luminous oil paintings are featured in galleries and collections across the U.S. and at www.stevenwalkerstudios.com. .

  1. I think your landscapes make the ordinary extraordinary. How do you choose your subject matter, and how do you shoot your photo references?  My choices are often not based on the location but the design of the landscape. Light plays a major part in the design of each composition. I’m usually trying to push for a glow or some sort of dramatic effect, which is why the design of light plays such a big part. The light that I’m looking for isn’t reserved just for sunlight, but includes streetlights, atmospheric perspective and even reflections.
  2. What do you feel has been crucial to your growth as an artist?  Knowing that I’m going to be a lifelong student and being willing and eager to grow and evolve. I don’t want to be an artist who doesn’t grow after they’ve had success. Growth involves getting out of your comfort zone and I try to do that often.
  3. You have taught many, many oil painting students (myself included). What are the most common mistakes you have to help them overcome? I don’t know if it’s a common “mistake” but getting students to take risks and make mistakes is something that most art students have in common. It’s real easy to play it safe, but playing it safe makes it hard to make new discoveries in your work. It’s one thing to make mistakes but learning from them is even more important. Most of my students are so worried about not making a good painting that it paralyzes them from doing anything.
  4. If you could borrow a magic DeLorean or hot tub (time machine), what career advice would you give your 22 year-old self? I’d start by shaking myself followed by a soap opera-like slap to my face. “Start painting what you love and don’t worry about painting to make money or please others. Paint like the bills and loans don’t matter. Paint without fear but with passion for crying out loud, you only live once.”
  5. Going back even further, when did you first know you wanted to be an artist?  I think that I’ve known since I was in nursery school after getting one of my drawings published in the nursery school newsletter. It didn’t become a strong reality until middle school. It was all I did and wanted to do. I finished my homework and chores just so I could get back to drawing. I didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to be, but I knew that I wanted to spend my life making art.

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