Steven Sickles

“For me, there’s no point in painting if I’m not having fun and feeling experimental.”

Steven Sickles


As an abstract painter, Steven Sickles’ expressions are not confined to recognizable imagery. He relishes the freedom to respond intuitively to the evolving canvas, letting the creative process unfold organically.

For him, it’s simple. “I try to create paintings that are provocative and attract closer inspection.”

Always ask what inspired a Sickles painting because the answers will be diverse and probably surprising. Sometimes his internal reflections spark an idea. Other times, it’s the world around him. Once, inspiration flowed from a random splatter of paint in a Lowe’s parking lot.

But don’t ask him how to interpret his paintings. “I prefer that everyone who sees my paintings discovers what resonates with them about my work. I have no intention of dictating how my art is interpreted,” Steven says.

Remaining true to his Abstract Expressionist style, the Indianapolis artist uses a range of acrylic painting techniques to infuse his work with a compelling sense of color, depth and movement. He starts with a visual idea, then imagines the order in which the paint will be applied to the canvas. Steven paints with brushes, spatulas, even his hands. He pours paint freely, splashing or dripping color onto the canvas.

He uses a variety of brush sizes to paint broad, heavy strokes. He creates a dynamic and textured visual experience by making thick layers of paint in some areas, thin ones in others.

His work, Steven says, is the result of years of education, artistic contemplation, confidence, and experience. He majored in fine art at Rhode Island College, but “no one mentioned how difficult it would be to live comfortably by painting.” He later returned to school to major in computer science “as a way of supporting myself and my painting habit.”

His career has soared past a habit, and many achievements testify to that. One of the most notable is a collaboration with jazz saxophonist Sophie Faught. Every song in the “Three Muses” collection was composed for one of Steven’s paintings. It is a unique convergence of artistic minds exploring how music and visual art intertwine.

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