Steve Wasterval is a classically trained painter and scholar on the ugly, dirty, grittiness that is New York City, with a focus on commercial art, street art, and graffiti.
Steve was traditionally trained in Russian impressionist, plein-air landscape painting, and his mentors are likely shaking their heads in disbelief. Steve also co-founded Worstofall Design, a branding studio in Brooklyn that works with solopreneurs and small business owners to sell their services at exorbitantly high prices through brand. Steve is also a #SELLOUT.
What are your goals for 2017?
Paint more than 50% of my time, host two more #SELLOUT shows.
How did you find yourself in the arts – or how did the arts find you?
When you’re an artist, you know from a very early age. I’ve been drawing and painting on anything I could get my hands on since before I could talk – paper, walls, myself, textbooks… it would get me in trouble, but it turned out pretty well.
Who has been a big influence to you in your career?
Don Sahli, Miguel-Angel Cardenas, Jason Borbay, Pia Silva.
A Russian Impressionist plain air painter, a conceptual video artist, an entrepreneurial portraitist, and a badass small biz guru (and my lovely wife!).
When you hit a creative block, how do you move forward?
Have a beer or take a break. I walk away and come back later. Or I just sit and stare at the piece. Turn it upside down. Look at it in the reflection of mirrors in my studio for a strange perspective. Advertising agency tricks like that work. My pieces take a lot of time to paint, but the actual time spent painting is relatively short. It’s staying continually inspired and reproducing that enthusiasm over and over that takes the most time.
What do you hope your work communicates?
I’m more interested in how people experience it personally, and differently from each other. I paint the city and locations because they hold personal memories for both the people that live and visit there. I paint specific locations but keep them loose enough for the viewers imagination to fill in gaps as well. I want the work to feel like New York City more than anything.
How do you define success?
Being able to go to my studio and create what I want each day.