Steven DaLuz: Interview with a Contemporary Master:
Ten minutes after meeting Steven DaLuz, I said to myself “this is the kind of man I want to be.” Friendly, personable, easy to talk to, unpretentious, and enthusiastic about like, Steven brings a certain energy to room that is contagious. I had been following Steven’s work on Facebook for years and finally had the privilege of meeting him in person at the first Representational Art Conference in Ventura California. Over three days, it was wonderful to share a few meals and great conversations about art and life.
Steven’s resume is just as big as his character. His work has been seen in the pages of American Art Collector, the Artists Magazine, and Art in America to name just a few for coconut oil for hair growth. Though the majority of his exposure is in his home state of Texas, Steven’s work has been exhibited internationally including multiple appearances in the Florence Biennial.
His work is both figurative and abstract. In both cases he reveals and hides information simultaneously, suggesting the interior world as much as outward appearance. Without cliché his work reveals the spirit behind the outward facade. Even as a master draftsman, Steven’s work transcends the trap of being a display of technical virtuosity in favor of something deeper, something bigger.
It is my pleasure to give to you my interview with the Contemporary Master Steven DaLuz. Please check out his website stevendaluz.com.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I’m not really sure…I just always assumed everybody loved to draw and paint! I suppose I was always entranced by the paintings and drawings of old masters I saw in books as a schoolboy.
How old were you?
I recall during parent-teacher conferences during elementary school, my poor mother hearing the dismay of my teachers as they described my constant drawings all over assignments. I was probably 5 or 6 at the time.
What do you love about the process of painting and drawing?
There’s something intoxicating about the smell of oil paint as I enter my studio…my sanctuary. Painting gives me the greatest outlet for my urge to create. It offers the most challenge and sense of accomplishment when an idea comes to fruition. Through painting I get to draw, to compose, to play with color, temperatures, texture, light, dark, create illusions, and solve all manner of visual “problems” while entering a kind of peaceful state. Painting offers that opportunity to take colorful glops of oil and pigment, slosh it around in such a way to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional world on a 2-dimensional space. I can’t imagine not being able to draw or paint.
What do you want your audience to experience when they see your work?
Most of my “abstractions”, are only partially abstract, in that they refer to something real or that could be real. I like to create the “idea” of a place, whether steeped in reference to landscape, or to celestial forms. As I paint these, I am transported to another realm in my mind. Because they are entirely from my imagination, I just allude to the notion of some environment that may allow the viewer to bring up a memory of someplace they have been, or would like to be. They have a vague recollection, but the place is not literal. The ethereal properties of light suggest a source that can be otherworldly. Light has the ability to reveal…and the capacity to blind. Is it the sun? Is it from within? Is it beyond? I leave that for the viewer to decide. I hope to engage the viewer more by creating voids and vaporous depictions. In doing this, I increase the likelihood the viewer will complete the picture for themselves. In synthesizing the figure into some of these works, I engage my passion for painting the figure…but, I also believe that because we are humans, we relate to the figure. If I disguise features, or obscure identity, I allow the form to become more universal. In doing this, I hope the viewer can relate to the figure and imagine themselves in such a setting. I suppose, the longer I live, the more I have come to believe that everything in the universe is connected. I can barely begin to fathom the great depths of the mysteries the cosmos offers, yet we are a part of it. I believe we are more than this physical “shell” that is our corporeal body. The idea of a “one-ness” between humankind and the universe has become something of a fascination for me. I do not try to supply any “answers” to life’s big questions with my work…I simply try to visually express some of my thoughts and feelings to hopefully spark the imaginations of others. I think there is a kind of “yearning” that we have, as humans, to know that we are not alone in this vast plane of existence. I try to pull the veil back just a little to reveal just a glimpse of something that COULD be. But, that is the beauty of art. It has the potential to make our spirits soar.
What is one tool or thing in your studio that you can’t live without?
Tough question–there are so many things I need to create my work. I’d hate to be without any of them. If I have to boil it down to just one thing, probably music. I suppose I could still create in my mind with the right music to help transport me to another realm.
Where do you sell your work?
I sell my work through galleries. Currently I sell primarily through AnArte Gallery in San Antonio, Texas, Laura Rathe Fine Art in Houston an d Dallas; and the Marshall | LeKae Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Name two of your artistic heroes (one living and one dead)
I have so many artists whose work I admire, both living and dead, that it is very difficult to reduce it to just one. Nope, I tried, but I just can’t do it. I suppose a prominent dead artist hero is J. M. W. Turner. His romanticism and expression of light dazzled my imagination from the time of my youth. Another, less well known, is Zdzislaw Beksinski, a Polish artist whose emotional power in his work makes my jaw drop to this day. Slicing my list of admired living artists to one is also impossible. So, two of those who stand out for me are Julio Reyes and Alex Kanevsky.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Avoid the fruitless exercise of comparing yourself to other artists–it is a waste of time. Instead, look at the work you are making today, and compare it against the work you are doing next month…next year. Are you growing? You have a unique voice. Find it and use it. There is no substitute for time in the studio, working. The more you exercise your creative “muscles”, the more they will develop. Do not wait for “inspiration” to come. Sketch, draw, read, listen to music. Look at LOTS of art “in the flesh”–not just online imagery. Don’t be too hard on yourself. For every decent piece I have made, I did 10 that are “turkeys”. Be persistent and learn from those–they are part of your journey. Whatever you lack in knowledge, go out and get it! So long as you are alive, understand that there is no “expiration date” for artists. You can create at ANY age, throughout the course of your life.