Realistic painters face a tougher challenge than some other artists. Not only must they be skilled enough to depict real objects, they have to be original enough to create something new on the canvas. The artwork of Kansas Citian, Steve Bonham, succeeds on both counts.
In Steve’s latest series of oil paintings, his take on the still life turns that genre on its head. Run-of-the-mill bowls of fruit or vases full of flowers are gone, replaced by tarnished door handles, pocket watches, rusted horse shoes, old-fashioned keys, postcards of classic Greek statues, and insects. Any yearning for the past conveyed by the objects is counterbalanced by a bright color palette and vivid textural details. The artist’s technique shows the dustiness of a butterfly wing, paint peeling from barnwood, and the iridescence of a beetle shell. It’s in these details that the painter honors the past while celebrating the beauty of the present moment.
While his focus is now on fine painting, Steve has experience in commercial art and illustration. National clients include the New York Times and Universal Studios Park in Orlando, Florida. Locally, his illustrations have run in the Kansas City Star newspaper for several years and he has done work for Bernstein-Rein Advertising.
Steve graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and studied for a year at the Kansas City Art Institute with an emphasis in design and illustration. His work for the conservation department at the Nelson-Atkins Museum fostered a deep appreciation for its print collection. He also worked extensively restoring period frames for the museum.