Artist Steven Lush, who operates out of Studio #220 in the SoWa Artists Guild Building at 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End, has led an extraordinary career. His work reflects the extraordinary life and approach towards life as an artist that he took.
Born to an artistic family, Lush’s mother was a major influence on his decision to go into art. She was an artist herself as well as a musician. She taught him how to draw and paint when he was five years old, which led to him developing an interest in drawing and ultimately becoming a self-taught artist.
Despite his interest in drawing early on in his life, for a period of 15 years, Lush’s work was primarily done in the medium of watercolor on paper. His inspiration to use this medium came from looking at the watercolor work of Winslow Homer in a magazine that his mother owned when he was growing up.
Other artists are not the only influence on Lush’s artwork. He has also traveled extensively to different parts of the world, including India and the Mediterranean countries, which has had a lasting impact on his art, especially in his figurative work. His fascination with watercolor was also based on his interest in how light affects the areas that it encompasses. It is based on his personal belief that “strong contrast in any artwork for me is the most important thing.”
Watercolors were also mainly used in his series of marine art. Lush’s interest in marine art was influenced by his time as a merchant engineer for the company “American Export Lines.” While did not go to art school — he went to the Maritime Academy, during his time on board ships, Lush almost always drew and painted. His familiarity with ships has allowed him to create pieces such as the watercolor on paper piece “The Twins,” which depicts their elaborate structures. Despite the elaborate structures that are depicted in his marine artwork, Lush uses loose fluid colors to form these images. That is the strongpoint that Lush would say makes his marine artwork stand out. However, a lot can be said about Lush’s artwork in general.
In general, Lush has said that he would characterize his artwork as including strong saturated colors. This aspect ranges towards his work in a multitude of mediums. Despite the large period in his career where he mainly used watercolor on paper as his main medium, Lush has transitioned to multiple other mediums.
These include oil on canvas and collage work. He has developed an interest in expanding into metal sculpture welding and is looking to get a workshop to do this kind of art. He has also developed an interest in wood sculpture and contemporary sculpture.
Another one of Lush’s early influences was Saul Steinberg, a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine whose work he was fascinated with growing up. This interest led to him developing an interest in drawing in pen and ink.
“I kind of get into this mode world where I’ll do a series of work, so I’ve done a series of cartoons within the last couple years, I’ve done a series of masks, I’ve done a series of wood sculptures, always doing series of watercolor,” said Lush, explaining how he finds himself working in multiple mediums.
“I don’t do the same thing all the time, but I do series. I work in a series. I kind of get it out of my system. I’ll go into something else that I either have done before or something new and then I’ll return to something I may have done years ago.”
Therefore, Steven Lush’s career in art shows the multiple inspirations he has had over his life and his free attitude towards art.
Steven Lush has always been interested in creating art within a multitude of mediums, working in whichever style or medium he has developed an interest in at the time. His career in art shows the multiple inspirations that he has had over his life and his free attitude towards art — one worth keeping an eye on.
(For more information on Steve Lush, visit stevelush.com or visit him during SoWaBoston First Fridays at 450 Harrison Ave. Studio #220, Boston, Massachusetts.)