Elegant and exquisite are just two of the many adjectives critics have used to describe Steve Hank’s art, Focusing on people, Hank’s watercolors and oils seize the viewer’s emotions. With insight and sensitivity, his detailed and complex style propels viewers on a personal journey of past memories, making them a part of the creative process as well. Hanks, mastery of form and color, and his skill at creating near magical plays of light and reflection, are the highways to viewers’ hearts and minds.
As a child, he loved two things: art and sports. His first grade teacher once wrote to his parents, “Steve is an artist.” He says, “I knew I was either going to be involved with sports or art. As time went by, art just overshadowed everything.”
Hanks studied at the San Francisco Academy of Art for a year and a half. But it took only one semester for him to realize commercial art was not his calling. With his devotion for figure painting, Hanks earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California.
In an article in Southwest Profile, Hanks explained hi interest in people. “I’ve always been attracted to people as subjects, simply because they were the hardest thing to do. As I went on, I found the most difficult people to paint were women and children, and that really caught my interest.”
Passionate and articulate about life and art, Hanks accepts the spirituality that is inherent in artistic expression. He says, “As an artist, you really have to listen to your inner voice telling you what to do.”
His favorite subjects are women. He says, “Women occupy a special niche in my sensitivity. They express more storytelling ability. There’s more magic in them.” His portraits reverberate with both sensuous and innocent rhythms. Whether they are gazing out a window, leaning against a wall, or resting on a sofa, Hanks give his subjects a romantic and dreamlike quality.
Steve’s work has been the pick of the art jurors since 1973. In 1990 and 1994, he won the Arts for the Parks marine Art Award of Excellence. He has been a winner in the Arts for the Parks top 100 artists from 1989 to 1994. In 1991 the National Watercolor Society awarded him with the National Watercolor Society Merit Award. In 1992 the National Academy of Western Art awarded him with the Gold Medal in Watercolor. He has been among the top ten most popular artists in America in US Art magazine since 1993. He is recognized internationally; he was a featured artist in Hong Kong in a show 1998. He was selected as the rendezvous artist and appeared on PBS Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station in 1999. When the Pacific Rim show in Seattle, WA decided to open the show up to a wider variety of art in 1999, they selected Steve as Artist of the Year. Steve was one of five winners selected to the U.S. Art Hall of Fame 2000. He was named as one of the top 25 selling artists in June, 2002 issue of Décor magazine. Steve is driven to challenge each medium, pushing thelimits of technique and emotion.