Mill Creek Artists
Born in El Paso, Texas, in 1952, and having spent much of his early youth on a horse ranch in rural Nevada, Stephen has seemingly been on a singular path from childhood. An avid reader as a boy, he consumed untold volumes of literature on Native Americans and developed, in the process, a deep love and appreciation for the Native American's intuitive understanding of the natural world, thus laying the foundation for his art at an early age.
A self-taught artist, Stephen did not discover his sculpting ability until he was almost 30 years old. Then, while living in a small logging town in Northern California, he was first introduced to the "wild magic" as he calls it, of chain saw sculpture. Watching a gifted chain saw artist work, sawdust flying, saw roaring, seemingly out of control, transforming a giant redwood log into the figure of an Indian warrior, Stephen suddenly realized what his life's work would be. He soon mastered the "wild magic" and has since become an accomplished sculptor in many other media, including stone.
For Stephen, the sculpting process begins with his search for that unique branch of wood, or slab of stone that will excite his creative instincts. Back in the studio, he will study each piece, turning it over and over, appraising every curve and line until he finally decides how it will evolve. Carving, sculpting, shaping, he seems to possess the ability to "see" not only with his eyes, but also with his hands, as strong yet gentle fingers probe each piece to determine the correctness of form.One senses a "connectedness" between the hauntingly beautiful Indian and wildlife figures and the elements from which they were wrought. Viewing a finished piece, the words "balance" and "harmony" come to mind, the same words used to describe the Native American's relationship with the natural world, and the relationship we must all find if we are to preserve our own environment.
1982-1989 Self employed artist. During these years, he successfully supported a family of 5 by the creation and selling of one-of-a-kind sculptures. He increased his knowledge and skills by attending various college arts and foundry classes, and other artist workshops. He became highly skilled in clay and wax molding, bronze casting, and stone sculpture. He has belonged to the Southwest Sculptor's Association, the National Wood Carvers Association and the California Carvers Guild.
During this period, his works had been shown and sold at galleries and fine art exhibitions though out the Southwest.
In 1987, Stephen designed his first successful gift line for a large, Southern California giftware manufacturer. Working closely with this company, Stephen gained invaluable knowledge with respect to highly technical production mold making techniques, assembly line production, designing, and product development. The artistic skill he attained, along with his knowledge of production and manufacturing, coupled with the overwhelming success of his designs, led to the inevitable formation of Mill Creek Studios in 1989.