Artistic Excellence 2013 | Honorable Mention: Arlene Steinberg

New York

Arlene Steinberg, The Great Escape, colored pencil, 12 x 36.

Arlene Steinberg, The Great Escape, colored pencil, 12 x 36.

What inspired your winning entry? My creative process is a continual exploration of color, light, and values. Glass, and how light refracts through it, enchants me. I discovered these marbles in an antique store and handpicked the ones I wanted. While playing with still-life setups one day, inspiration struck. I could not resist the textured green jar filled with distortions and reflections from the colorful marbles and the juxtaposition to the perfectly spherical marbles and the reflected colors on the table.

Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s of fine arts in textiles from Syracuse University in New York.

How would you describe your style? If I labeled my work, I would say it is contemporary realism. However, while my drawings appear to be realistic, it is the manipulation of color and light that is the true signature of my style.

What is one thing most people don’t 
know about you? Even though I hate to cook, I still love watching the food channel on television.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Throughout my earlier life, I tried to do everything expected of me. I graduated from college and found a job designing textiles instead of becoming a fine artist. My father had insisted I’d starve as a fine artist. I married, bought a house, and started a family. However, there was something missing. I was trying to live up to my parents’ idea of success, not my own. A friend, seeing how unhappy I was, said to me, “You need to be who you are, not who others expect you to be.” It was my eureka moment. I changed some things in my personal life, became a fine artist, and now I wake up each day loving what I do and being who I am.

What would you be if you were not an artist? Not an artist? The thought of not creating art is so alien to me since I have done something creative almost every day of my life from the time I was 6 years old.

What galleries represent your work? I am finally at the point where I feel my body of work is cohesive enough for gallery representation, and I am actively looking for a few galleries to represent me.

This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

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