Steve Sullivan, Dorchester MA
Sum up your creative process in one word/phrase and explain why.
One word I would use to sum up my creative process is “resourceful”. I think this
word describes not only the use of recycled materials, or making the best use of what is
available, but it also refers to the concept behind my work of finding value in every
experience. Sometimes the practice itself is centered around acknowledging the
framework laid out by the materials and finding a way to make them work together into a
successful piece, and this also requires a certain resourcefulness on the part of the
Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an
As a child, I always enjoyed a proclivity for being able to complete projects for
school in a way that satisfied my teachers, but it wasn’t until high school that I was
introduced to the concept of “my art”. It was there that I began to experiment more with
finding my own voice as an artist, and not just someone who could follow directions
well. I went on to Tulane University, where my technical skills continued to mature, and
later on at MassArt, the MFA program helped me develop my identity as a conceptual
artist as well.
What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?
Painting has always been my first love, so to speak, but mixed media art,
specifically the use of recycled materials that have a personal element to them, has lent
another layer of value and communication to my work. It is also what keeps me coming
back and holding my interest.
Is there any particular experience, person, place or thing that inspires you to create?
Tell us about that.
Often times, it is usually the “thing” that inspires me to create something.
Specifically with a mixed media piece, I will intuitively place objects, such as the paper
receipts featured in a lot of my more recent work from the past year and a half or so,
and then I will continue to build upon that composition and try to navigate my way to
what I feel is a successful moment or a series thereof.
What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away
It is always a very rewarding experience to be able to show my work to people,
as it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and that of my work to a real person. What
I hope they take away from the experience is the value of excavating piece and
understanding the story behind it and from where it comes. Often times, very rich layers
of meaning are lost when a viewer simply offers a passing glance to a piece; and who
can blame them, wading amongst the din. Having the opportunity to stop and speak to
the artist inevitably offers a more connective and even cathartic experience for both
What advice do you have for other artists who may be looking to get their work
I would advise any artist looking to exhibit to be reminded that any venue is a
good one, no matter how small or seemingly unexclusive. The objective should not be
to sell as much as possible; instead, it is to gain experience in discussing their own
artwork face-to-face with another human being. They may be surprised to find that they
had not quite answered some important questions for themselves, until they start
answering them for others.