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Chris Steinken

When I began my studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, my intent was to pursue photography. As much as I enjoyed the medium, I found that I wanted more control over my subject matter. I could never find what I pictured in my imagination. So, I turned to painting, where I could change elements of the composition more easily and satisfy my vision for each piece. I still use my photography as reference material and a good starting point for my paintings. I work with oils or acrylics and I find myself attracted to subject matter that involves the elements of time and decrepitude, such as rusting locomotives or weathered driftwood. The notion of decay (or change) has been with me for a while. It’s a great metaphor for the human condition. For one of my projects in art school, I found my way into an abandoned building in Chicago and photographed all the amazing things that were happening to the building. Warped floors, flaking paint, layers of dust, artifacts left where they’d be set down decades ago—it was all very beautiful to me.


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