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Steven Derks

The two most important tools for Steven's work are a stick to push and pull the paint, and the sun to accelerate the drying in such an extreme way that cracking and crazing occurs.


The desert is the perfect place for the job. When Steven places a painting in the sun to dry, it’s similar to firing ceramics in a kiln; he can anticipate and plan for a desired effect, but he can’t always predict what will happen. Finding and collecting curiosities in thrift stores and junkyards is a lifelong preoccupation and a passionate experience for him, rather like going to church.


Most of his sculptures are conceived right there in the scrap metal yards, where he finds both the vision and the ingredients for his work. Liking the immediacy of welding, he never bends or cuts the metal he uses, as his art lies in the assemblage, not the cutting and shaping of its individual parts. Making art allows him to have a spiritual and a psychological life without being directly involved in any theology or ideology.


When Steven discards something, he feels he betrays it. When he finds it, conceives a vision of it renewed, and makes art from it, he feels he redeems it. All objects have the potential to be redeemed through art, to be transformed through human vision, as do all people. Art makes his own personal redemption possible.


Born in Dubuque Iowa June 30, 1957, he has shown work in CA, NM, TX, and all over AZ.

Part of many private collections, a few of his corporate collectors are the American Heart Association, Tucson, AZ; DeGrazia Foundation, Tucson, AZ; Microsoft, Seattle, WA; Regal Company, Inc., Sonora, Mexico; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; UMC Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ; and The White House Oval Office in Washington, D.C.

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