Welcome to my Mind! …my “New York State of Mind”. NYC has been an important influence in my development as an artist. I’ll explain a little about that and some current projects related to the “Big Apple”.  Throughout history big cities have accelerated the growth of knowledge and culture. As cities blossomed into centers of trade, they also became a marketplace of ideas. Culture, which is normally tied to a geographical area began to spread through and between these larger centers of population. Many thriving metroplexes, especially NYC, are influenced by its multicultural residents and visitors.      

A single idea is often quickly transmitted, transformed, implemented, improved or combined with other ideas in a large vibrant community. On the contrary, that same idea might languish in isolation out in the hinterlands. Such an idea may be scientific, intellectual or aesthetic. It can also be a matter of taste, style, technique or process. This is why art and music are generally more developed and further advanced in NYC and why artists and musicians flock there. 

There was so much to learn about art. I read the books, looked online, met artists, hung out at the art store and asked a lot of questions. But none of that prepared me for the eye-opening experience of the NYC art scene. (See the effect on my EYEBALL HERE.) The art museums, the galleries, the art districts, the street art and more.

It’s astounding to see the contents of the famous art museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) the Guggenheim and many others. Seeing those the first time was an informative lesson in art history, but I return to all of them on each trip to the city. For instance, it would take days on end to see everything in just the Metropolitan Museum. Here I am digging a modern art light installation:

On each NYC visit I spend at least three days in Chelsea, which has between 300-400 galleries. The burgeoning Lower East Side is now filled with around 250 galleries. Then there is Soho, Tribeca, Midtown and so many other areas to see art. I fill notebooks full of ideas, take hundreds of photos, collect brochures and ask innumerable questions of artists, curators and gallerists. Every excursion to the city is simultaneously exhausting yet exhilarating. The real fun starts upon returning home to try out new things.

Between these art pilgrimages, I’ve found that one way to keep up with what’s happening in NYC art scene, is to follow James Kalm online. He regularly pedals his bicycle around to art shows (often the opening reception) throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. He shoots video of the event and and delivers very astute commentary about the artwork. To see his exploits Look at James Kalm’s You-Tube Channel Here.

It took me a long time to realize that James Kalm is a pseudonym used by noted artist, Loren Munk. You’ll find Loren Munk’s website here. He’s a very interesting guy who keeps me up-to-date on what’s happening in the art world.

Some notes now on my continuing NYC Grid Project. I have made several series of artworks from photographs taken in the city. In subsequent posts you will see the results. Currently I am shooting numerous pix of grids, grates, fences, buildings, construction sites and any geometric configuration of lines. NYC provides a massive opportunity for this endeavor. Sometimes a single photo shows multiple overlapping or juxtaposed patterns. Here are a few of the originals:

To me those pictures are pretty cool already. (My wife always asks why there are never any people in my photos.) The adventure really gets going in the editing stage. The original photos get combined, superimposed, distorted, re-colorized and otherwise digitally sliced and diced. Some finished artworks result from this step, but the new images often become fodder for further mutation into still more pictures, movies, animations, collage elements and whatever?

Here are a few images after the first round of editing:

One batch of NYC photos led to this large Paste-Up Painting called “Wall-to-Wall”.  

To learn more about how it was made or to purchase the painting CLICK HERE.

This one came from a famous building in Manhattan. Can you guess which one?

Dark Tower

You will find art and artists from all over the world in NYC. Dazzling creativity is everywhere you look! Just like writers need to read constantly, I need to always be looking at art to consider new concepts, styles and techniques. The great Picasso, himself, borrowed ideas from everywhere, including from French painter Georges Braque. Some say the concept of Cubism was pioneered by Braque, but Picasso took the idea to new heights. I am a devotee of Austin Kleon who has written a lot on this subject. You should read his book, Steal Like an Artist or watch his TED Talk. 

That’s all for now. I’m off to take some more pictures, or maybe I’ll go to the studio to paint, or maybe to the computer to make a video, or maybe the art store for more supplies, or the library, the book store, who knows? ~Over and Out~

Explore the Universe of ART

with Scott Steelman

Here is the very beginning of a new painting in the “New York Grid” series. This is just the first stage and as you will see there’s not even a grid yet. however, the grid will magically appear in the next post. This original music gives me a little groove to work by.

MY FAVORITE living modern musician/composer/arranger is Django Bates. Frank Zappa, until his untimely demise in 1993, had held that title for 25 years. In keeping with the NYC theme, here is Django’s blasphemous “derangement” of  “New York, New York”. Just like Zappa before him, Bates uses some of the finest jazz musicians in the world to execute his brilliant writing. You may not be able to hang with this – PROCEED with CAUTION!

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New psychedelic music video entitled “Circle Dance”


Thanks for coming along on my Art Adventure.

Feel free to send any comments, questions or money to me. …ask about anything – technique, process, motivation, dinner ideas (take-out ONLY please!)