Artist Statement: Steve Hanks
After over 40 years of painting, Steve Hanks has finally arrived at the destination he has been dreaming about throughout his entire career.
"I'm painting like crazy and really enjoying it," says Hanks. "I turned 60 and hit a point and it's the greatest point I've ever been at.
I feel like I have the best control over my media I have ever had and I'm confident when I lose control."
For Hanks, this means that even when he loses control during the painting process, he has the confidence to not get frustrated and to work his way out of these challenges. And, sometimes, it is during these moments when great things start to happen.
"Even when I completely mess up, I don't get upset because that is part of the journey as well," says Hanks. "I just think, 'Where do
I want to go with this?' and eventually find a way out. It doesn't matter now because I know I can find a way to make it look really good."
This new exhibition at The Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale will include up to 30 paintings of all sizes and subject matter, from his famous nudes to examples from his angel series to his paintings of children.
"This is just an amazing time artistically for me," says Hanks. "You know, I used to look at artists like Clark Hulings and Wilson Hurley and think, it must feel really great to be right there at the height of their career. And now, knowing I'm there, where I've always wanted to be, is great. I can paint whatever I want, whatever size. This is it. It's where I've worked all my life to get to and from here on out, it's going to be nothing but great."
One painting in the show, Against the Wind, is a favorite subject matter for Hanks.
A young girl stands in the middle of a seemingly endless highway, dressed in black, and crossing the rain-slicked road. "I like depicting people like this, rebels or non-conformists, dressed differently than most," says Hanks. "Artists seem to relate to this, going against the wind, against the grain. It's what you find in a lot of small towns. The young girl longing to get away, leaving for New York City, getting out of a town that may just be too small for them."
Some of the new works are also examples of Hanks experimenting with the color black on the new Aquaboard surfaces he has been using. While on watercolor paper blacks usually go dull, the new Aquaboard he has been using allows for a degree of richness and opacity that he has been experimenting with.
"It's always been a tough color on watercolor paper," says Hanks. "It always dries dull and it's hard to paint over again. Black is similar to white, you never paint straight black but mix colors into it and one color dominates in relationship to what is around it. But the black on these new Aquaboards will go black black; it really gets dark and allows me to throw lighter colors on top of it to create much more effects."
This exhibition will be a homecoming of sorts for Hanks as well. One of the main turning points in his career was over 30 years ago when he started selling his work at the Leslie Levy Gallery on Main Street.
"I've always said that was when my career really took off," says Hanks. "I was 30 years old at the time and just getting going. So, it is really nice for me to return to Main Street in Scottsdale again. I have really good feelings about this place."