Steve Lyons is an American artist whose signature style of sculptural paint has been capturing the attention of collectors, gallerists and viewers from around the world. Not only is he recognized for taking the impasto technique to a new level of tactile imagery, Lyons is also credited for a unique expressionist style that bridges the gap between representational and abstract art. But although he appreciates the accolades, Steve Lyons explains that his works are simply the unintentional result of his natural born need to create. He also doesn’t like to be coined as a “painter” and explains that the term “artist” is a more accurate depiction that gives him the freedom to work from a place of concept and mixed media expressions. “I am first and foremost a highly conceptual thinker and creating from this conceptual paradigm gives me more freedom to explore the ongoing question in my head of what a painting really is,” says Lyons. “Discovering my own method of impasto is essentially what allowed me to discover myself as an artist because I was finally able to fully express how I see the world and how I think it should be experienced by others.”
Although it may have taken him a while to find his artistic “skin”, Lyons’ unquestionable talent was apparent from the young age of seven when he began painting competitively and won his first competition in Canton, Ohio. He also remembers that first competition being his first light bulb moment where he realized that people could actually be rewarded for their creativity and from that point on, he made it his mission to learn about all the famous artists before him. Growing up, he also discovered his dual passion for writing and he earned his B.A. at Eastern Kentucky University, and then M.A. at Louisiana State University in journalism and art. But Lyons explains what he really learned in school is that he wasn’t an “academic painter” and he didn’t need a professor’s permission to become an artist. “I eventually dropped all my studio classes and became really immersed in art history. It was during that time when I had my next significant realization that every major art movement began with a technique and so I set out to find my own.”
It wasn’t until 2011, when scrap lumber left over from a home renovation project and Lyons’ conceptual paradigm came together in a perfect synergy to create his trademark “Memento” paintings that would launch his career as a professional artist. “I would work my regular job by day and painted by night in a makeshift studio in the back of my house,” Lyons reveals. “I painted abstracts, seascapes, landscapes, all done on scrap lumber and I began showing them on my front porch. Pretty soon I was selling out of these paintings and had a backlog of orders for more. Then it got to the point where the town of Cape Cod, where all this was happening, passed a law to stop me from selling my art privately because I was taking business away from the local galleries. Many still call it ‘the anti-Lyons law.’”
But Steve Lyons had already caught the attention of a world-renowned critic who was enamored with his heavy impasto technique and officially coined his work “Northern European Expressionism.” Although Lyons admits he didn’t know at the time that such a genre existed, he was thrilled that the critic gave his work “a home” and launched him into the international market. In 2013, Lyons became the first American to win the shared exhibition prize at the Stadtgalerie, Westerland, Germany. “Winning the competition was a pivotal experience for me because it’s based on a “blind” nomination and selection process where thirty-five artists from around the world are judged solely on their work,” he says. “It really gave me the confidence that my work could actually stand on its own on an international level.” In 2014, Lyons gained another highly esteemed admirer who had discovered his work on Facebook. It was none other than Markku Piri, Finland’s premier living artist and designer, and Lyons became the first American artist to be awarded a private mentorship with him.
But it wasn’t until last March when he was in Berlin painting at the famous Heckman-Hofe, that Steve Lyons really became aware of the value of his work. Strangely, the affirmation was having 23 of his paintings stolen by the very man he had entrusted to transfer them to his first international exhibition in Freising, Germany. “I had been there for five weeks preparing pieces for my first international show and I had this art manager, Joachim Perez, who ended up stealing my paintings instead of taking them to Freising like he was supposed to,” explains Lyons. “It was a pretty big ordeal because Germany’s official art-theft unit got involved, the FBI got involved and I remember one of the first things they told me was to consider it highly complimentary that someone would actually steal the work of a mid-career artist. Fortunately, they ended up finding all of my paintings in a storage unit Perez had rented out and now maybe I can advertise my work as ‘art worth going to prison for,’” Lyons jokes.
Since then, Steve Lyons career has continued on the upswing with commissions and exhibitions all over the world. Currently, he is the featured artist at Gallery 463 in Chatham, MA, where his dune and seascapes have become an attraction for local, national and international visitors. He also currently has other works including his popular, “Painted Ladies” series touring through Mexico and he is busy preparing for a number of upcoming shows in Del Ray Beach, Palm Beach and Vero Beach FL, as well as Poznan, Poland’s renowned art fair, and he will once again show at Berlin’s famed Heckman-Hofe as the feature guest artist of international art manager Boris Coronado. His plans for 2016 include exhibitions in the cultural centers of Potsdam, Germany and Dresden, following with the Stadtgalerie in Sylt, Germany. And he isn’t stopping there. In fact, Lyons is already planning his debut breakthrough in installation art and reveals a few hints that it will be a light installation that he expects to showcase at the Berlin Festival of Lights and ultimately bring to Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Chicago.
To find out more about Steve Lyons’ work and all current and upcoming shows, go to his official website at www.stevelyonsart.com