The Old Print Shop

Steven E. Walker

b. 1955

Steven Walker was born in Brooklyn and grew up from age three in West Islip, Long Island. The family had a two-tone 1953 Chevrolet Belair, the body of which was the same shade of green as a luncheonette sign. He remembers a railroad crossing by the Babylon train station, where a man in a wooden booth next to the tracks would manually crank down the gates.

His first profound visual experience was as follows: As he lay toward dusk in his tiny bed, his shoulders propped against the headboard, he would watch the red lights slowly flashing atop three distant radio towers. From his vantage point across the room, he noticed that the mesh of the window screen would be greatly magnified as the red lights flashed beyond. He watched with great attention, but said nothing.

When he was first taken to art museums, just after finishing high school, he quickly felt an affinity with all kinds of art. He took his first drawing and design classes at Wagner College in Staten Island, and though encouraged to major in art, he lacked confidence. Throughout his twenties he felt inwardly nagged by the desire to study art, and finally began attending full-time drawing classes in 1983 at the Art Students League. In subsequent years he took up oil painting and later printmaking, and has worked in both mediums ever since.

Walker has work in the permanent collections of The Brooklyn Museum, NY;  Museum of the City of New York, NY;  Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, CT; New-York Historical Society, NY;  among others.

I choose subjects from my environment that strike me as visually compelling. Often this has less to do with the physical subject than with an abstract pattern of light, shadow, or color. For this reason I am more apt to find compositions in unspectacular, everyday places than in famous landmarks.  An interesting arrangement of angles, lines, shapes, and tones, and the mood evoked by a particular light and time of day—this is what attracts me to a scene.

In many of my prints, I have tried to evoke the mood of time and place while working within a limited color range. When painting directly from nature, I look for the effect of the prevailing light on the colors of the subject. At other times, I seek to achieve color harmony through memory and imagination.”