The first thing I remember hearing about Steve Snell during the AiR application process this year had something to do with a couch canoe and Alec Baldwin and “you have to bring him here!” I soon learned that the couch canoe was indeed real (here’s a preview of Steve’s piece “King of the River” with proof). His connection to Alec Baldwin also turned out to be true (much to the delight–well, hysteria–of Hub City Bookshop manager Erin Haire who quite simply wants to marry Alec Baldwin), and that, too, you can see with your own eyes in “I Went into the Wilderness and I found Alec Baldwin.” Yeah, I agreed he was pretty cool.
One night over drinks at Delaney’s in downtown Spartanburg, a group of us HUB-BUB/Hub City folk abruptly exchanged business cards. Perhaps because some of us are still giddy that we have business cards or are new enough in Spartanburg to appreciate receiving a coworker’s business card, it was quite exciting. When Steve handed me his, I looked at a glossy photo of him in “adventure” gear, complete with coon hat, walking stick, and video camera–the same that’s on the intro page of his website. I already knew this picture and loved it (because I like to think I’m a part-time adventurer myself), but then I read the back:
“I’m half grizzly, half killer whale and can also fly really well.”
Yep, that’s Steve. And as you learned several days ago in his blog post “Apple Sauce,” Steve does indeed fly with style.
And his art? Well, I asked one of Steve’s art professors, Jerry Kearns, at the University of Massachusetts to tell us a little about Steve’s work, and here’s what Professor Kearns said:
Steve Snell is an exciting young artist who is joining a significant movement among his generation set on exploring a variety of relationships at the intersection of media culture and lived reality. Over the past 50 year or so, with the explosion of media platforms, earlier separations between lived experience and mediated information have collapsed, causing an intense interest in investigations of the new terrain.
Steve uses humor and a showman’s sense of imagery to enter that vital discussion about who we are at the outset of the new century. Part and parcel to his process is the examination of current notions regarding the relationship between art, artist, and the broader culture. He seems to be moving toward a more interactive position between “creator’ and “audience.” This is reflective of the new social media and the “participatory” nature of much of the new digital world.
Steve is a thoughtful person who believes in using his art as a springboard for open discussion and understanding. I look forward to watching his work evolve over the coming years. He will make an enduring contribution to the discussion ahead.
Well, that’s high praise from Kearns, an artist whose career stretches over 25 years.
But what we at HUB-BUB know for sure is that we’re super excited to have this “King of the River” parking his boat on S. Daniel Morgan Avenue for the next 10 months.