J. Steven Patton is an Oil Painter and Pastel artist born, bred, and shaped in Wyckoff, New Jersey. He began painting at the age of fourteen and studied privately with local artists throughout high school. One teacher was a neo-impressionist from whom he learned about abstract art and acrylic paint. His second teacher provided a more formal, traditionalist training in portrait, landscape, and still life in oils. He cites the importance of learning both.
Upon graduating from high school he earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art with a minor in media and technology from The College of New Jersey. He was mentored by the artist Tony Robbin with whom he studied Joseph Alber’s Color Theory in an independent study course. Upon graduating he worked for several years as a handbag and luggage designer then embarked on a thirty-six-year career in sales and marketing in the nutritional supplement industry. In 2019 Steve began devoting his full attention to his painting practice. This second career is his true calling and passion. He is a member of Studio Montclair, Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council, and the New Jersey Pastel Society. His work has been exhibited in several group shows in New Jersey and may be found in private collections. He currently spends his days in his Manufacturer’s Village studio in East Orange, New Jersey. His work may be viewed on his website www.jstevenpattonart.com
When I was thirteen years old I asked for a set of oil paints for Christmas. As I started painting it changed my brain somehow in the way I saw and thought about things. It was the beginning of me becoming a fully formed human being. One of my earliest works was an imaginary portrait that in retrospect was an expressionistic portrait of me. To this day my painting is rooted in figurative expressionism as there is usually something human found within my compositions. I am influenced by film, news, history, and classic art. Artistic influences include Munch, Soutine, Kokoschka, Neel and deKooning. I find many societal/political parallels in the early 20th century to the present time that I explore in my art. It was an exciting and devastating period of history that draws me to both the beauty and dissonance of those times.
I work in both oil and pastel. Bold color, line, texture, unusual perspectives, and composition are my trademark features. I like to layer textural strokes rather than blend. I leave parts of the underpainting and outlines intact for effect. I might source content from high contrast silent movie stills to have fun creating a color palette and value system or focus on socially conscious and/or psychological themes directly from my psyche. These compositions and stories enter my mind when I meditate or am on the verge of falling asleep. I like when this happens. It is most gratifying to produce a work of art from the subconscious.