Steve Zolin

Artist statement or, "How I Learned to Love the Art Industry"

It was two am, and the little desert airstrip reflected the moonlight while I stretched back in our 40-foot truck on the tarmac's edge. I wondered, "How did I get to this place?" Scanning the night sky for a turbo-prop, I could hear my dad's voice from long ago: "If you want to be an artist you need to learn the business of art." This attitude seemed practical for someone like me, a life-long artist who was now trying to "make it" in the art world. I was currently working for Gerald Peters Gallery and now here I was, learning-about-the-art-industry at two in the morning waiting for a Jim Dine painting the night before the opening, to be delivered like a drug drop in the middle of the New Mexico desert. My life had been full of strange adventures like this since leaving my New Jersey home in 1990 to study art at Washington University in St. Louis.

I became an art nomad after graduation and moved to Santa Fe, NM where for nine years I made art while holding day-jobs ranging from pastry cook to preparator. I learned how to put down plastic in my living room, so I could get my deposit back when I had to move out again. In each place I lived, I erected a 2X4 wood skeleton so I could hang clip lights (painting the wood white to lessen the warehouse feeling), and put masonite or cardboard on the floor. I often built false walls against which I could paint. People thought I was crazy for all the work, but I managed to execute some large paintings in one-bedroom apartments, including "Aleph-Bet Mural" and "Sojourn".

The "Air-Strip Incident" was many years ago now, and the Jim Dine show went off without further incident. Though the gallery system in Santa Fe did not generally accept my own work while I lived there, I showed and sold in the city often nevertheless; in bars, restaurants, in juried shows and fairs, as welI as through my work with the public schools, I communicated my evolving visual language to the public. I'd like to think that no one who gasped upon first seeing the sixty-foot Emerald City backdrop ever forgot it.

I eventually won a Fellowship to receive my MFA at Florida State University. After graduation I moved back to New Jersey and am currently engaged to married in September 2008 to Robin Noble, a talented New York photographer; I will be moving into New York City very soon. More to follow ...