I met Steve Smith around 2001 when I was working at the art supply store on S. Craig Street, near the Carnegie Museum of Art. Steve stopped in regularly to get supplies and show off his latest creations. He always had a sketchbook in the works. He would fill ten or more pages a day with memories from his childhood, interpretations of stories in the news, or historical events. He drew the compositions quickly, and then filled them in with pattern and color. His earlier works in colored pencil and pastel are very meticulous. His later works in acrylic are bold and spontaneous. In his teenage years, Steve spend a lot of time studying tribal artwork from Africa, Ancient Egyptian Art and Pre-Columbian Art. Although his career dreams were challenged by health issues, Steve pushed ahead and continued to make art.
Steve’s works have appeared in many of my projects. In 2004, I featured his work in an exhibition at The Brew House titled, From the Inside. In 2006, Steve had a solo exhibition at my Tom Museum project at the Mattress Factory. Steve’s works have also been featured in exhibitions in Pittsburgh hospitals and shops.
Today Steve has a collection of paintings and drawings that document the events of his life. He continues to make work at his home in the East End of Pittsburgh. His work will be featured in my upcoming project, The Sideways Museum, opening in late January in the Cultural District of Downtown Pittsburgh.