Stephen Michael Barnes has worked in studio painting, drawing, watercolors and a variety of other media during the course of his career. He also has been a web designer, webmaster, and online business strategist for over two decades. He studied studio painting at the University of Arizona, but as to his proficiency in computer graphics, Photoshop, video production and audio creation – that was all self taught. An autodidact by nature, and preference, Stephen delves into whatever technologies or knowledge that will aid in the successful creation of the projects of his imagination. The making of paintings is his preference.
He, along with Abigail Rothberg, operated a visual design studio “LaSilencia ARTS” during the period from 2003-2007. The studio produced a print zine as well, “La Silencia.” This was Stephen’s second zine, following the earlier “Red Dog Journal” produced in the late 1990’s. It was one of the earliest online zines, first published online through a gopher server, then later as a website. The Red Dog Journal was also produced in a printed version.
Stephen has participated in numerous artistic projects, including the annual Phoenix Art Detours, and volunteer teaching at various Arizona community centers. His paintings have also been included in numerous group exhibitions.
Artist’s Statement, 2017:
A painting exists on several levels simultaneously. This is an alchemical transformation, a trans-substantiation.
My artmaking is a blend of traditional and digital methods and media. My recent paintings are the summation of a creation process that can involve many steps. Sometimes I begin directly on the canvas, at other times I work with photographs, drawings, watercolors or other preexisting imagery that in one way or another has prompted some kind of response or connection in me as preparation of the next step of creating the object painting. My process then can include digital creation or altering of my photographs, paintings, and drawings, the use of chance and synchronicity, or simply direct painting – whatever the steps may be to coalesce the pieces of my imagery into a harmonious whole. I think of the final work as a “meaningful object”.
“Some day, if we’re lucky (or simply humble), we will realize our true nature (even if we do not understand it), and having found the pearl, we can then tie our shoelaces, comb our hair, and get to work. Don’t worry, it will all happen as it will, and anyway Damascus will always be there for you.”
– From “Pilgrim” graphic novel.
August 8, 2018