“In graduate school at the University of Delaware we were encouraged to write artist statements that were succinct and witty. We tried to write world weary little poetic masterpieces (as esoteric as they were hip) that were heavy with irony, yet light enough to make the reader feel that they were in the know. It seemed that as long as you wrote a piece about the deep underlying issues surrounding the “human condition” that showed an uncommonly perceptive and clever voice for one so young, you were considered successful. We were also told to minimize the use of the word “I.” I am still not wise or clever enough to write such a piece.
Several years ago I read a statement from an artist in New American Paintings (vol. 38, page 45) that I’ve mulled over ever since: “I try to paint with courage, to the capacity of my ability, that which is revealed to me.” Brilliant in its evasive, yet sincere, honesty. I’ll content myself by simply borrowing from him.”
-- Kyle Stevenson, 2015
Kyle grew up in the very small college town of Houghton, south of Buffalo, NY. It was always assumed that he would become an artist, ever since as a three year old he needed to draw in order to keep quiet in church. This sacred beginning perhaps partially accounts for his preoccupation with Faith and Issues of Existence, and his contention that there is no subject more worthy of preoccupation.
After high school Kyle stayed in town and attended Houghton College, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Studio Art. He survived the next couple of years as a picture framer and somehow landed a job as a studio assistant to Thomas S. Buechner, a Corning, NY, portrait painter. In Tom’s studio Kyle learned the craft of painting and gained a long-term mentor. (We lost Tom in 2010, but Kyle will be forever grateful to him for revealing his secrets.) He also built up enough confidence to apply to graduate school at University of Delaware, where he would earn an MFA in Painting.
Today, Kyle is lucky enough to be a professor of fine arts at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, where he has taught since 2002. He lives in Hamilton, NJ, with his wife, Sarah, and their prodigious children: Sam, Mollygrace, Stella, Charlie, and Violet.
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