Steve Lansky is a writer and artist who lives in Clifton. If you’re been a part of the writing scene around town, you’ve attended readings where he performed, including excerpts from his novella A Black Bird Fell Out of the Sky, which was published in 2017. Steve’s new art show, Art Like Water, is currently on display at Ruth’s Parkside Cafe in Northside. The show features 14 ink reproductions from his book Life is a Fountain, which was published by Dos Madres Press. Other works on display include large color abstract expressionist canvases, small shadow boxes with fine-line sketches, and a few other figurative pieces. Steve has traveled to 18 countries since 2000, and his sketches include fountains from Lisboa, Habana Vieja, Firenze, Querétaro, and Clifton with additional scenes from Northern California, Ontario, Guyana, and Croatia. Recently Steve and I drove to Ruth’s in order to see his art and discuss the inspiration behind it.
Steve’s art begins at Harvard in 1975, where he took basic drawing. Independent work completed without a class or direct mentor also counted toward the degree requirements. In 1979, after a period of experimentation, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and effectively discarded into a series of institutions for four years during which he painted, sculpted, and wrote. “My art flowed like water,” Steve wrote in his artist’s statement for Art Like Water, “finding spaces to fill my life with serenity, resolve, and commitment starting in a locked room at The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.”
Steve’s work also owes something to Roy Sebern, dubbed The Secretary of the Interior by Ken Kesey for painting the Magic Bus. Also, Ann Newburger Pappenheimer provided expressive art therapy, an open door to talk, and encouragement in Cincinnati. Arthur Schneider, a Detroit artist, also contibuted. Leigh Alfred Waltz, Phil (Po) Roberto, and Jeff Siereveld also helped him learn computer graphics, which were essential to this show.
Steve’s show continues through May 4. Come check it out, and if you see something you like, buy it! Here are some photos we took during our visit to Ruth’s.