Stephen P Anderson hanging artwork

I have had a life-long passion for drawing, creating and self-expression. Growing up in Maryland, I was always drawing for my friends and family. After high school I took Jazz History and Drawing classes at the local Cecil Community College. Eventually some friends, and my parents, persuaded me to attend Art school, which I did. I moved to Philadelphia and attended the Art institute, where I met my wife and creative partner Debbie.

Upon graduating in 1988, I began working as a framer of fine art at I. Brewster Gallery in Philadelphia. The master framer at the gallery persuaded me to begin creating 3-dimensional ink and watercolor paintings of Philadelphia street scenes – in the style of Red Grooms – to be matted and framed in deep frames for sale in the gallery. Eventually we started having shows at local restaurants, banks, and boutique galleries. Commission requests started coming in after being included in the Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Annual in 1988 and 89 and there seemed to be some financial promise to this approach. But I began to tire of the specific customer requests of what to draw and paint, and the tediousness of cutting and assembling all of the pieces. I did produce 2 of the artworks in limited runs, by silkscreening the line drawings onto hot press watercolor paper and then hand coloring.

By the end of ’89 I had decided to paint only in two dimensions and abandoned the 3-D ink and watercolor routine. I began painting medium and large canvases in acrylic and occasionally in mixed media, by xeroxing my own photography, pasting on the canvases and painting over. I had only an occasional show of my acrylic paintings in the 90s, since Debbie and I were focusing more on our band, our fanzine, and our professional design careers. I began taking classical piano lessons at Settlement Music School and continued for 2 years until our time in Philly came to an end.

Steve Anderson and Debbie Polak

In the early 2000’s we relocated back to Deb’s hometown in Pennsylvania. I stopped using acrylics and began painting in oil only. My oil paintings began evolving, initially from live figures or photo reference, but eventually live model opportunities became infrequent as we got busy with raising a family. I also came to a decision that I would no longer lean on photo reference, and decided that my painting would for now on be inspired only by images summoned from my own imagination and I have since embraced abstract expressionism usually “warming up” with a rough idea in an ink sketch – before putting paint to canvas.

Lately I focus my energy on my family, music, artwork, multimedia studio, and time out of doors.

2023 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA test by Debbie