Steve is a young mix media artist living and working in Washington D.C. His studio is a live work space which he shares with a few other people and his cat Fischer. He first moved to Washington in 2004 after finishing his undergrad at Alfred University. He now works as the Assistant Director of Admissions at the Corcoran School of Art. The mix media in his work is comprised of extensive sewing both by hand and with the machine, appropriation, transfer prints and paint.
Why sewing? “I think a lot of it is to access a history of women in my family especially my mom. She wasn’t a seamstress or anything but she would just wing it and make something awesome.
“The way I describe this work is a ‘heritage without children’. Because when a gay man comes out of the closet it’s different than many other minority groups…it’s not like you’re born into a family of gays that raise you ‘gay’”. A lot of the ways you discover yourself is through media – so pornography is a kind of genre where you discover yourself or your community and it’s not just pornography, it’s through sex when you discover that you’re queer so that’s kind of where you start building your identity — through your sense of sexuality. So it’s a really strange community with no real traditions…so I’ve started using these pornographic images in my work in a more subtle way to start talking about a history or a heritage and I use this badge symbol to imply a kind of family crest.”
“I was using pornography verbatim and covering up the genital area—using the badges as symbol of censorship and suppression.”
The jockey underwear seems to be such an iconic symbol of being male which is what he was looking for. ”I was looking for something that was singularly male.”
I did a lot of prints…they’re photocopy transfers with charpak marker. “They’re really smelly. I did so much of theses and my roommates seriously had an intervention because the odor was killing them.”
Steve is currently working on a piece for the show “The Thread as the Line: Contemporary Sewn Art” at the Ellipse Art Center in Arlington, VA opening this May 1. “I’m going to be reupholstering the cushions with these t-shirts (above) I’m turning them into pillows which are going to be on a couch. I try to use fabrics that are from other things…they’re not bought per se….I feel like it has more history. This is why I started using fabric because it is more visceral.” The t-shirts he’s using for this project are his own screenprint creations.