Capturing viewers’ attention
This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
Clyde Steadman once dreamed of becoming a writer. Oddly enough, the ambition led to his career in fine art: More than a decade ago, he was penning a thriller about an artist. In order to get inside the head of his main character, he decided first-hand experience was called for. He began frequenting Seattle coffee shops and bars to sketch people sipping lattes or margaritas. From there he decided to enroll in life-drawing classes. “Then I was hooked,” Steadman says.
When he moved to Colorado in 1998, he soon headed for the Art Students League of Denver and signed up for classes with Doug Dawson, Mark Daily, and Quang Ho. Today Steadman teaches at the Art Students League of Denver himself. When it comes to subject matter, Steadman says he can find something wonderful in just about everything he sees, from a crack in the sidewalk to a carton of eggs to a roller-derby collision to men digging ditches.
As an artist he wants to call people’s attention to the beauty of the everyday and elicit an emotional response. Sometimes this necessitates employing a unique angle or “jarring” the viewer, as he does in LONG HAIRED DOMESTIC Tabby ii. Instead of creating a more conventional portrait of a cat curled up in the sun, he says, he decided to create a cat’s head on a monumental scale. “The size of the cat is inappropriate. A cat’s head is normally about 3 to 4 inches. But I wanted to do something fresh and for viewers to see the subject in a fresh way,” Steadman says.
In MEN AT WORK he chose to capture the viewer’s eye by depicting a scene from an unusual angle. The scene caught his eye from his bathroom window, and he sketched it before painting it. But Steadman’s intent is also to convey a message. “I loved the idea of people doing an honest day’s work. I wanted to convey the dignity of it,” Steadman says. “I want to convey to people that this is something worth paying attention to. And hopefully I can teach someone to become excited about something they wouldn’t normally care about.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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