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Angular Expressionism: The Art of Steve Uriegas

Isaiah 55:9: As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “I painted this primarily as a tribute to the city I’m raising my children in.
Steve Uriegas, art, artist, Plano, Texas
Isaiah 55:9: As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “I painted this primarily as a tribute to the city I’m raising my children in. The beauty of the balloons is almost as poignant as the verse it was named after.”

“What better source of inspiration for my talents than the most popular, best-selling and most stolen book in the world?” Local artist Steve Uriegas is, of course, referring to the Bible. A deeply religious man and talented artist, Steve’s most recent collection, Scriptures & Pictures, is the result of the artist’s personal journey and reflection of Scripture. “The best part about using the Bible in this way is that it can be applied to any situation, any place, any feeling or emotion, any battle, anything.” While Steve considers the Bible an imperative part of his creative process, religious or not, there is something for everyone in the work of Steve Uriegas.

Job 39:29: From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar.
“I’ve wanted to paint an eagle for a long time, so when I decide to, I couldn’t decide how to pose it. In the end, I painted four in various poses. I put a deadline on myself to make it interesting and I almost regretted it. I ended up painting all four simultaneously in about three-and-a-half weeks! It was a labor of love.”

A Texas native, born and raised in Corpus Christi, Steve started his artistic career as a self-taught pencil artist, before working for over 20 years as a graphic designer and recently returning to his roots when he began experimenting with paint. Influenced by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Marcel Duchamp, Steve struggled to find a style he identified with. “I dabbled mostly with impressionism, but tried blending other varieties such as surrealism, cubism and abstract.” Nothing fit, until one day a fellow artist honed in on one particular painting. “It was extremely hard-edged with very little curved lines or blending colors. So I decided no curves, hard edges only.” He also made the decision to work exclusively with palette knives.

Read more: Q&A with artists Amanda and Judith Dunbar

Proverbs 28:1: The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
“This one holds a very special place in my heart because of the fact that it was the painting that started this exploration in Scripture. After I came off a dry spell that lasted over 13 months, I jumped in enthusiastically with both feet and painted this 48” x 48” lion portrait. No one has ever pointed out to me the fact that I painted the lion’s eyes closed. This was meant to signify the calmness of the lion, while being confident in his strength.”

This new method led Steve to the creation of his own unique style, described by appreciators of art, as modern day cubism, or in Steve’s own words, “Angular Expressionism.” The use of straight edges, combined with a flamboyant sense of style, has resulted in something extraordinary, an effect so angular you might mistake it for being computer-generated.

Read more: The extraordinary photography of Gabrielle Castaneda Pruitt

Steve’s work is, of course, not computer-generated; his artistic process, however, does start digitally, a preference which heralds back to his more than 20 years’ experience working in the graphic design industry. In fact, Steve’s skills as an illustrator and knowledge of computer software led him to develop new methods to show geological formations in three-dimensional ways, a technology used to help communicate how oil and gas is explored, extracted, transported and distributed. “Even now, the influence of my photo-realistic illustrations can be seen throughout the industry.”

Mark 4:37: A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
It’s fair to describe this piece as abstract, but the intention was meant to be more concrete. I designed a mighty storm wave on the ocean. I wanted it to resemble something intimidating. The story of daily stress and dealing with life’s challenges is a common one.

Today, he uses his computer skills to shape his ideas, before a palette knife so much as grazes the canvas. “I can flirt with ideas to my heart’s content…until I have a template that looks interesting. Then, when I begin to apply paint to canvas, I’m free to explore the area however I wish. Often times, the piece concludes looking quite different from my original vision.”

Now living in Plano with his wife Melanie and their 4 children, Steve’s work can be found at Ten 20 Gallery in downtown Plano, Gallery At Midtown at Valley View Mall in Dallas, as well as at Skypony Gallery at The Shops at Willow Bend where Steve himself can be found painting one of his latest creations.


Originally published in Plano Profile‘s September 2016 issue.