Steve was born on the Rama Reserve near Orillia, Ontario, in 1966. He began to draw as soon as he could hold a pencil and crayon. Steve was cared for and supported by his mother, Carol, an artist in her own right who, along with her cousin Arthur Shilling, recognized and encouraged Steve to continue his art.
Arthur Shilling took Steve under his wing and helped to refine his young, raw talent. Shilling was the one who first exposed Steve to the prolific works of Norval Morrisseau. Steve’s family moved to Midland, Ontario where he continued to draw. But instead of reserve pictures depicting everyday life and legends passed down it was grain elevators and other subjects of everyday rural life that captured his attention. Tragically, Arthur Shilling passed away in 1986 from a heart ailment.
Three years later Steve held his first exhibition at The Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario. He has had many exhibitions since then – both solo and group shows – and his work is housed in many private collections and public galleries throughout the world. Some of his early works are in the Orillia Chamber of Commerce, Chippewa’s Rama Band Office, Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Canadian Embassy in Hungary.
In the spring of 1991 Steve had the good fortune to meet Norval Morrisseau, who became a great influence in his work and in 2008 he painted an oil portrait of Norval. The painting was slated to be part of a future solo exhibition until the Maslak Mcleod Gallery in Yorkville, Toronto acquired the portrait for their permanent collection. It is also featured on the website of the Norval Morrisseau Family Foundation.
Portraits of the many Chiefs and Warriors of Native North America along with portraits of other Native artists have become signature for Steve. Notable portraits of Native artists that he has painted, besides Norval Morrisseau, include Arthur Shilling, Richard Bedwash, Del Ashkewe, Hugh McKenzie and Floyd Kuptana.
Steve has a studio in Rama and one on Bear Island, Lake Temagami where he paints majestic landscapes of the north in his own distinctive, impressionistic style that resonates the spirituality of the land.
Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford ON
YMCA Art Auction, Orillia ONphen
Franklin Carmichael Tour of Galleries, Orillia ON
C’est What, Toronto ON
Rama Festival of Arts, Rama ON
Nimkiis Gallery, Toronto ON
La Parete Gallery, Toronto ON
Owls Nest Gallery, Temagami ON
The Little Gallery, Haileybury ON
First Nations Cultural Art Auction, Ontario Place
Gallery Louise Smith, Toronto ON
‘The Temagami 22’, The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto ON
The Thomson Gallery, Toronto ON
Maslak Gallery, Toronto ON
K Bros Maroosis Art Gallery, North Bay ON
Steve has also had his work featured in several publications including Magazin Art Winter 96/97, Canadian Wildflower Society Catalogue 1998 and Parkhurst Exchange 1999(May).