Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Levin, Steven J.

Russian Girl
oil on canvas
33 x 38.1 cm
private collection

Steven J. Levin (1964 - ) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Levin's interest in art began early, when as a young boy, he would spend hours drawing alongside his father, a commercial artist. Recognizing his talent and interest, his father gave Levin many impromptu drawing lessons and tips, as well as instructional books to aid in his artistic development.

After high school, with his mind fixed upon becoming an artist, he enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Having been keenly interested in the great American illustrators as a teenager, he was hoping to find a program that could develop his ability to draw and paint from life convincingly. He quickly realized that the courses offered were either insufficient, or more often completely useless to prepare him for a career as a realist artist. Agreeing with this assessment, his father helped him search out another option for his art training. The following year he enrolled at the newly opened Atelier LeSueur in Excelsior, Minnesota.

The Atelier LeSueur was among several ateliers that were the artistic and scholastic offspring of what was known as the Boston School. This Boston School had originally comprised a group of highly influential artists and painters working in and around Boston in the late 19th and early 20th century. At the Atelier LeSueur, Levin was quickly immersed in a world that was rich in tradition, solid instruction, and which held to the idea that beauty and craft were the underpinnings of great art. The training consisted entirely of studio work under the direction of professional painters. Levin thrived in this new atmosphere and studied there for five years, following which he joined the teaching staff and remained on as an instructor for another seven years. He completed his studies with an extended stay in England to copy works in London’s National Gallery, another time-honored tradition for the classically trained painter. Though trained in the Boston School tradition, Levin has undertaken a somewhat different direction and brought a unique point of view to his work. He cites the works of Jan Vermeer and Edward Hopper as among two of his strongest influences.

Levin has exhibited widely and been featured in prestigious group shows in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, etc..  He has been featured on the cover of American Artist Magazine and has also been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes in national competitions. He lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.