Artist of the Month: Steven DaLuz

Ovum 2, (oil, 36×36) by Steven DaLuz was a finalist in the abstract/experimental category of The Artist’s Magazine‘s 27th Annual Art Competition.

Artist: Steven DaLuz
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

In the beginning…

My fascination with drawing and making things with my hands began as a toddler. By the time I started middle school, I knew I’d be a working artist one day. Diverted in my early adulthood by the responsibilities of raising a family and having a career in the U.S. Air Force, I didn’t resume formal art education until 2000. I completed a bachelor of fine arts (painting) from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2003, and set out to pursue my life’s passion. I’m very fortunate and happy to say that I’ve been creating art as a full time occupation since 2005. There are three excellent galleries representing my work, and I couldn’t be happier.

Ovum 2
One night after watching a science show on TV, while half asleep, I dreamed I was traveling through the universe at the speed of light, wondering if I’d reach the edge of the universe. Eventually, I pierced the boundary of the known universe, slowed down, looked back and was amazed to see the whole cosmos. It was contained within another universe, where I was floating. I chose to express this in the shape I remembered from my imagination, much like a human egg, opening to reveal the brilliant light and gaseous clouds of the billions of galaxies it contained.

Painting Ovum 2 was like a dance. I experienced no real difficulties with it. I think my favorite part was applying the wispy strokes of paint over some partially oxidized areas, creating an illusion of gas clouds.

From mind to matter
I take a cradled birch or hardboard panel, prime it with two coats of PVA, three coats of gesso, and two thin coats of red oxide acrylic. I will typically sketch and/or create a source image from my imagination in Photoshop that serves as a mere springboard to begin working. Once I have an idea of what I intend to paint, I place sizing onto the prepared surface to adhere my composition gold leaf and/or copper leaf to the surface. Wearing a respirator, I burnish the leaf, then I spray and drip diluted oxidizing chemicals onto areas of the metal leaf to create crusty patinas of color, then leave the studio for the day while the fumes air out. Next, I apply several thin coats of an aerosol sealant to stop the oxidation and provide “tooth” to grab the oil color. It typically takes five or six days of preparation before I’m able to begin painting the surface with mostly transparent oil color. Normally, I build up thin glazes of color on areas of the metal leaf until I achieve a finished work that aligns with my vision.

I work primarily in oils, though I also work with encaustics. While I sometimes create works that are simply oils on panel, Mylar or canvas, I primarily use a process that employs metal leaf and chemical-induced patinas on birch or hardboard—as in Ovum 2. While most of the works using this process are landscape-referential abstractions, they can also be figurative. I couldn’t find a genre where this work neatly fits, so about two years ago I decided to classify my work in the little-known genre I like to call “Neo-Luminism.”

I’m compelled to create work that conjures up a sense of mystery and ethereal light, whether figurative or abstract. Landscape, spirituality and the figure all serve as inspiration for me. They’re endlessly relevant and provide a great source for poetic introspection. Collectively, my work often reflects upon primal questions about origins, the expressive beauty of the human figure and the aesthetic power of light moving through an imagined atmosphere. My intention isn’t literal narrative. Instead, I create images that leave something to the viewer’s imagination. In the end, my hope is that my artwork will provide some unspoken connection between the work and the viewer.

Edited by Hunter Tickel, editorial intern for The Artist’s Magazine.

Artists of the Month are chosen from the list of finalists of The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition.


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