BEAVER CREEK — Abstract artist Stephen Schubert’s love of cooking has recently prompted him to relocate kitchen essentials — namely olive oil and kosher sea salt — to his art studio, where he combines two of his passions.
“Cooking is one my life’s pleasures,” said the California-based artist. “I have two good friends who are chefs; I live abstractly in their world, they teach me things.
“My imagination is always running,” he continued. “I read a book on gastronomy, the science of cooking, and realized certain pairings work because molecular structures are similar, so I started playing with that idea. Cooking, like when you paint, is a matter of blending the right combinations of things together.”
The Los Angeles artist is one of 200 craftsmen who will be stationed in Beaver Creek this weekend for the annual Beaver Creek Art Festival. He’s taking part in the festival for the fourth time and will premiere a line of new abstracts at the event.
Captivated by themes of transitions and transformations, Schubert’s abstracts are created on elevated birch panels with a technique that includes placing up to 15 layers of paint. His approach includes dragging a spackle knife, board or other found object over the wood surface, then applying a top coat of resin. Then he repeats the same process over again. The end result is a vibrant, colorful painting.
“At this show, I have a piece I used salt and olive oil in. Salt mixed with pigment and water creates crystallized patterns in paint, which become very interesting to the eye,” he said.
With an ever-evolving body of work in the back of his van, Schubert traveled first to Bellevue, Washington, for a show there, and then made the journey to Colorado. He’s traveling with friend and fellow painter Adam Stone, also showing his work at the Beaver Creek Art Festival (see page B4).
‘ORDER FROM CHAOS’
One person might see an elephant, another a mouse, in the same Schubert painting.
Schubert was drawn to the genre because it “allows people to express themselves in very personal and often revealing ways,” he said.
“The human mind wants to make order from chaos and it’s fascinating to listen to people share what they see in my work, which is always put in terms of images or actions we all know,” Schubert continued. “Animal shapes are common and so are extreme expressions of both dark and light landscapes. People then start getting comfortable with the process and end up revealing themselves more freely. It helps open us up to each other.”
Urban and Natural Themes
Schubert’s new art pieces represent his interpretation of both urban and natural themes. One, entitled “Mysterious Wisdom,” has dueling qualities: it both stimulates the senses while offering a feeling of calm.
It’s the artist’s desire to blend what we get energetically from cities while balancing ourselves with the harmonizing power of nature, he said.
“Good creative acts are an amalgam of the right combination of things in relation to each other, whether it’s a great sauce or a painting, my approach is the same,” he said.
Trained as an actor, Schubert has been the national spokesman for Macy’s, Lincoln Mercury and other major accounts. He played Dracula on stage.
But, back to his art. Schubert recently has had his inspirational word series in Target stores nationwide, and is currently in talks to license his designs on luggage and rugs.
Coming this fall, he said he “will have exclusive representation in the Vail Valley at an exciting new space called ‘The Gallery at Vail,’ which will be helmed by an anonymous, collected curator with 28 years in the art world, so stay tuned.”