By Kelly Pollock, feature writer for The Buzz Cafe
For years, Steve Fisher’s art studio has been in the basement of his home behind the Friendly Tap in Berwyn. “I’d been thinking of getting a dedicated studio space, and I finally said, ‘If not now, when?’” says Steve. “But I needed a place that was as quick to get to as my basement.” That “place” ended up being 301 Harrison Street in the Oak Park Arts District, the new home of Steve Fisher Arts.
Steve has been painting since he was a child and was particularly influenced by his family’s visits to the Art Institute of Chicago. He always liked the Impressionists, and then, in the mid-1960’s as he about to start high school, Steve took in his first Picasso exhibition. “It was a wake-up call. I walked from one end of that show to the other and back again. From then on, my art was never really the same. Before, I had done the kind of art kids do to get a pat on the head. After, I went my own way. The experience opened doors for me.”
While he has focused throughout his life on different art forms, primarily painting and printmaking, Steve is interested in how these different mediums can coalesce into something new. “Instead of working in different compartments, I want to put them together and see what happens,” says Steve. He’s excited by the possibilities of his new studio space where he’ll have more room to work the way that he likes to—bouncing from one project to another instead of staying focused on one piece at a time.
Steve compares his work as an artist to a physicist working on equations on a giant blackboard. “They start with a hypothesis and different ideas. But then things start to mesh. That’s what I do with my artwork; I push things around until my ideas crystallize.”
Other artists continue to be an influence too. “I love the artist Matt Lamb. He dipped his canvasses in a proprietary emulsion to create textured, multi-colored surfaces. I’m creating the ‘poor man’s version’ by pouring polyurethane, floating acrylic on top, and sandwiching glitter in between. The result is a standard painting that takes on a different quality.”
Steve talks a lot about influential artists who opened doors and how today’s artists shouldn’t see those doors as shut but should continue to walk through them and expand upon their ideas. He references Robert Henri who wrote in The Art Spirit (1923), “When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. … Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.”
While Steve intends to use his new space as a studio, he also plans to display a rotating collection of paintings that will be available for purchase. He is tentatively planning to have regular hours on Wednesdays and to have tie-ins with Arts District events. “I’ve been flying under the radar for a while, but I’m trying to get into more shows and branching out online. But it all starts with doing art that you have a connection with. If you do that, then the work speaks for itself.”
Steve Fisher Arts is located at 301 Harrison Street. Steve can be reached at 708-788-1709 or at [email protected].