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It was 1967; I was 22 and happy with the results of my first painting.
Unable to find a cheap ready-made frame that looked good on my painting led to an expensive custom frame. The payment plan with the framer led to people seeing my painting in his shop. This in turn led the framer to say, “I’m getting good reaction to your work”.
I explained it was my first painting copied from a “how to” book and I didn’t know what my “work” was or if it ever would be. He responded, “If people love your work nothing else matters and since my frame and your painting have created such a beautiful package $175 would be a fair price if you were willing to sell it”. Two weeks later I was making a living from the sale of my paintings.
The excellence I witnessed in fine art galleries and museums kept me searching for better techniques and motives in my own work. This alone took me in and out of the business of art but always in pursuit of the art itself. Through these decades I’ve produced thousands of paintings, drawings and prints. These have run the gamut from style to style and the employment of many different media.
My works have been part of many group and one-man exhibitions in fine galleries and museums mostly in the 1970’s. Although my efforts have been acknowledged with awards such as “Best of Show”, National Watercolor Society 1976 with a watercolor still-life and “Best of Show” Southern California 100, with my erotic fruit in watercolor in 1977, it's the work that turns me on!
In the fall of 1979 I had a sold-out exhibition of surreal images in which
I used people as psychological totems. I left the business shortly thereafter out of the need to once again work at my own pace and in pursuit of a new, meaningful body of work.
For the next ten years I worked as a technical illustrator, lead illustrator and art director for Tandem Computers in Silicon Valley. During this tenure I produced about 150 canvases (three of these, four of those, etc.), in search of that new body of work that would ignite my passion.
I left the corporate world in 1988 with no direction as an artist but I had to try again full time. After 2 years of searching and experimenting I produced four humorous golf images that were instrumental in discovering my current body of work. Ironically, “The Last Hole” (golf balls and clubs in a stream bed), turned me on to the “Rock and Water” series.
Known for their design, dimensionality and super real appearance these works have kept me totally energized and intrigued with possibilities since 1990.
In 1992 I opened Stavast Studio/Gallery in Oakhurst, California. Now in its fourteenth year of operation it has given me the opportunity to sample first-hand reaction to these personally satisfying works.
stephen stavast original art