Bio / Artist Statement

Steve Shorts was born on November 2, 1981 to parents Gary and Karen, the first of three children. He grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, studying drawing and painting at the Baum School of Art.

After graduating high school in the year 2000, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to attend Carnegie Mellon University. In 2004, Steve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with a minor in Arts In Society. During his time there, he participated in some of his first community projects, murals, exhibitions, and live painting performances.

Steve got his professional start working as an assistant painter for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. In 2007, he moved to New York City to work on murals as an apprentice for Colossal Media and Skyhigh Murals, the largest hand-paint ad company in the United States. While in New York, Steve also completed community art projects for non-profits including Covenant House and the United Way

Between 2007 and 2008, Steve was an event volunteer at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), an arts non-profit owned and operated by world famous artist Alex Grey. In 2009, Steve left New York City and moved to Wappingers Falls, New York to work at CoSM full-time as a chapel builder. Working there for the following two years, he was part of a team of artists that completed the full restoration of a Victorian mansion that was converted into an arts space. Steve also had the opportunity to complete a number of site-specific art projects and live painted many times at events there.

After leaving CoSM in late 2010, Steve began working as a painting contractor. He spent about a year in Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in late 2011. He has worked on commercial and residential properties all over Philadelphia, Bucks County, and New Jersey. He has painted commercial advertisements and signs in New York, Newark, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. He has live painted, body painted, and shown his work at events all over Philadelphia and New York. Steve currently lives and creates at the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum.

Artist Statement

My artistic vision combines mixed-media muralism with social sculpture. In simple terms, the art is a blend of fine art, restoration construction, and community service.

While much of my work is intended to reflect a philosophy of the artist as cultural worker whose art is a social-aesthetic practice focused in the public realm. The art is a tool to enable the artist to recreate both himself and the world around him. The art itself should generate art.

My canvas work is a personal meditation that pulls from archetypal wells of imagination and inspiration. Weaving together abstract and representational forms, the process is a dichotomy between preconceived planning and pure intuition. Each painting consists of layers of free-form gestures reacting to structures drawn into the composition at the beginning. As it progresses, forms solidify from the abstraction. The gestures are refined and the foreground and background merge. Elements of duality and vibration are enhanced to enable the work to move and shift in the mind’s eye of the viewer, functioning like a Rorschach test. Ultimately , every painting is not only a vision in itself, but one that generates new and unique visions based on the viewer’s own insights.

Outside of the studio, I work with other artists, designers, eduactors, and communities in collaborative efforts to identify neglected, even abandoned, areas of historic value and revitalizing them into fully functioning cultural centers infused with rhythm, vitality, and life. In each project a site is recreated into an event space with murals, paintings, and sculptures. In each case, the venue becomes a collective dreamspace where personal and social transformation occur simultaneously and the central art object is the audience themselves.