|Artist from Southern California Stephen Rivers
Stephen Rivers was born 1967 at Saint Mary Hospital in Long Beach, California. He is the proud son to Mr. Clyde Rivers and Mrs. Delores Rivers. He has been a resident of Southern California all his life except for the occasional deployments for the United States Air Force. Stephen Rivers has lived throughout southern California from Los Angeles, down to San Diego County. He now resides in Rancho Santa Margarita for the past 10 years. Since Stephen was a child living in Huntington Beach he has always been drawing and painting a personal diary in paints and graphite. When his family moved to Orange he transferred to El Modena High School with the encouragement from his Art teacher Mrs. Donna Banning Stephen showed his art at a variety of High School art exhibits. But after high school was over he went back to paintings his diary for his viewing pleasure only. That changed in 2004 Stephen started exhibiting his art once again from the encouragement from co-workers.
He has always had great talent in creating artistic and meaningfully and playful works of art with many traditional symbols and a great deal of personal hidden meanings which are mostly still encrypt to Stephen imagination only. Stephen has been quoted saying “I prefer to have my mystery to myself….and let other people create in there minds there own mystery of who I’m when they view my painted diary”
Most of his Art school has been self taught. But his academic work began when Stephen was in High School, he always experimented with styles. His High School teacher Mrs. Donna Banning from El Modena High School advised Stephen that she can not teach him anything new due to he had already the excelled beyond his High School age. She encouraged Stephen to take course outside of High School to increase his abilities she even encourage him to start taking Life drawing and painting classes. Even thou that intrigued him he knew he could never take any outside classes due to it being financial out of his reach. Stephen had to rely on his street smart artistic talents until he had a job to pay for schooling to attend such courses. But because of finances Stephen choose the path of a career like his father and became an accountant. He starts out his career as an account but changed around the end of the 1990s to working with computers that gave him a small boost of creativity and now phasing in his career as a professional artist. Along with the Accounting and Computers career he also choose a path to go in to the United States Air force Air National Guards, which has given him access to see parts of the world he would have never gotten a chance to see.
His passion to create has never stopped and has always incorporated time to paint his diary. In college he took a few courses of art along with chosen profession accounting. In his college art courses he had encouraging comments from his art teachers from San Diego to Santa Ana. But one of the things Stephen feared from taking too much academic art is that he felt he would loose his inner spark and inner creative judgment and fall to pure academic sterile art. Stephen has said “Techniques does not make a good artist just a good illustrator… innovation of what to do with techniques is what makes a gifted artist”.
2004 a Co-worker Matthew Mantoen noticed in Stephen office that he had some small photos of his art. One of the pieces was a photo of one Stephen first Art pieces that was shown at an art exhibition in High School. The piece is called “the Dollar Lady”. This piece was submitted in the 1980’s to the Laguna Art College in Orange County for a High School art exhibit. Stephen submitted 3 pieces to this exhibit one was a ceramics lay out of an Egyptian tomb which he created for fun with tiny little artifacts and painted the walls with text from the Book of the Dead; the other piece was a realistic watercolor of a mallard duck in flight, and the third was the Dollar Lady. Out of the 3 pieces they accepted two pieces the Egyptian room and “the Dollar Lady”. The Egyptian room was displayed in the front window of the show. Laguna Art College refused the academic and very realistic Mallard duck but accepted the abstract of “the Dollar Lady”. From then on Stephen art changed he came to the realization that painter copyist should be left to photography.
Due to the rejected painting of the flying Mallard duck is one reason why you see a heavy influence in the Modernism and the vibrant and modernity of the French impressionism. Mantoen liked “the Dollar Lady” painting and suggested to Stephen that he should exhibit at the Temecula Art Festival. Stephen liked the idea of showing his art again but didn’t want to something that was done from High School. Stephen has always been a prolific artist so for the Temecula Art Festival he composed 4 new pieces 2 days prior to the deadline for the submission. Out of the 4 pieces 2 were accepted. This was the beginnings for Stephen to finally come full circle and admit that he truly is an artist to be reckoned with in the art world today and since 2004 has now openly let the world read his painting.