Steven H Brown

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I grew up on a farm in rural Missouri. My father once told me to find another career, as there was no money in farming. Of course I chose art, which also has the potential for poverty. I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri. I started as a journalism major but quickly discovered that my style of photography did not fit the newspaper ideal. I spent many years discovering for myself what my mind wanted to see come out of my camera. When I started my life as a photographer digital imaging wasn’t even an idea yet. I spent many hours perfecting the craft of black & white printing in a small room under an orange light. I recieved my under graduate degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Several years later I attended the Savannah College of Art & Design where I earned an MFA in photography. 

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Artist statement

My art is urban exploration, conceptual art and avant-garde photography. My work is the transformation of objects and spaces using physical and digital manipulation. I explore abandoned buildings to find objects that have been left behind in the pursuit of progress and I wrap them in linen to give them a new skin. I am repurposing spaces as a sort of installation, photographing in such a way as to create a work of art. The objective is to transform these objects and their surrounding spaces into something beyond what they were when I found them. I am taking something that was forgotten, covered in dust and spider webs and transforming the shape, texture and color into something that has value, a work of art to place on the wall. The photograph is the final product realized from this process, altering reality through photography. The original inspiration for this work was my exposure to the artists Christo and Jean-Claude while I was in graduate school. I was fascinated by how their wrappings accentuated the architecture of their subjects. I took this idea and made it about the transformation of inner spaces. It was also important that I show these works as I wanted them to be seen, as an image of the space taken at a certain angle, a specific perspective, and a color (or tonal) palette of my choosing. I choose to show a photograph as the final product of the work done, the space and the wrappings are tools used towards this end. I use the process of wrapping to give resurrection to discarded, forgotten objects, repurposed for the amusement and enlightenment of myself as well as others. When I decide to create, which is more often than not a conscious decision, I do so out of a need or desire to produce something. It is not always about what I see around me, at least not to begin with. My decision to walk out the door and explore with my camera has more to do with my mood and how I am feeling physically than anything else. I photograph to create a new reality in the spaces I find. I like to think of my work as using the outside world to express myself, trying to create an altered reality through a process that is both physical and intellectual. Every image I produce is a form of abstraction for me, even though they may not fit the traditional definition of the word. I photograph to improve reality. I do not feel that I am documenting anything. I like to think of my work as using the outside world to express my inner thoughts and feelings, trying to use the photographic process to achieve what the abstract expressionists did without destroying the reality where the image began. I am isolating forms, shapes and light in a world of chaos in order to impose order through a kind of abstraction that acknowledges the reality from whence it came. Every image I produce is a form of abstraction for me, even though they may not fit the traditional definition of the word. My work is about abstraction, reducing the world to a minimilist thought by creating slices of altered reality. Isolation of the image, removal of distractions and presentation of a pure form of thought. I am interested in distilling images / ideas into a single note of concentrated harmony.

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