Acid paintings on copper
Pay close attention to the man wearing a respirator. Surrounded by strange paraphernalia, he hunches over a sheet of copper, mysteriously coaxing undulating swirls and vibrant hues to the surface. He’s no mad scientist, nor is he a tortured artist. Northern California native Stephen Bruce is not a cliché -- he is a phenomenon.
Though he has only been showing work since June of 2006, his acid paintings on copper have already been seen in TV shows (House, Law & Order LA, Big Bang Theory, The New Adventures of Old Christine, to name a few) and movie sets (Smart Car and The Quickening), selected to decorate the 2008 Sunset Magazine Idea House and garnered art festival accolades. Closer to home Bay Area Restaurants like Picans, Kuwas and Berk's Steakhouse.
The man behind the mask is genuinely overjoyed to be making art after decades spent supporting other artists and working in retail management. “For years I was an artist representative, consulting on presentation and development. Some encouraged me to focus on my own creativity, but I felt that my time to become an artist had past -- that my creative spirit had not been revealed and developed as a child,” says Bruce. In that sense, his problem was the opposite of Picasso’s famous observation, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Bruce’s gentle humility coupled with a unusually disciplined work ethic have much to do with his success: “My biggest artistic influence is the greatest artist ever, Mother Earth. Every artist is imitating her. My seascapes are inspired by the beauty of the ocean, perhaps an aerial view from the sky. My abstracts, an attempt to mimic the colors and patterns of some geological formations. And my landscapes are my best efforts to capture a fleeting moment in a sunset, a sunrise, or on the horizon.”
The Oakland Arts Community
Born and raised in Sacramento, Bruce recently moved to Oakland, where he revels in the flourishing community of East Bay Bohemians. Working in a six-acre Oakland warehouse filled with artist studios, he now enjoys a closer relationship with many of his clients and the galleries that represent him -- which once seemed an unattainable dream.