Distinguished District Artist in Lambert

Distinguished District Artist in Lambert

St. Louis – Steve Hartman has gained international fame for his artwork without ever having to leave the St. Louis area.

The Graphic Abstracts series by Hartmann, an artist from Edwardsville, is among the exhibits on display as part of the Art and Culture Program at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

An arts advisory panel made up of local art professionals reviewed Hartmann’s submission for the program and selected six of the colorful and vibrant pieces to display in Terminal 1.

The Airport Technical Advisory Committee, appointed by the mayor of St. Louis, oversees the Lambert Art of Travel program, which is funded through donations and grants from the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.


“I’ve been an artist for a while and a graphic designer for even longer, and this particular exhibition has been in the works for two years,” Hartmann said. “It was 2018 when the proposal came from the Airport Arts Commission, and it was my wife, who works at COCA (Center for Creative Arts) in St. Louis, who sent it to me.

“The committee chose my work, which is great, and decided to use some of my existing work and put it in Terminal 1 in the baggage claim area. They have five or six different areas within the airport as part of their art programme, which highlights local artists.”

Hartmann’s work has appeared in galleries, art galleries, and performances across the USA, and where his work is shown plays a role in deciding which pieces he will use in a particular gallery.

The exhibition will be on display in Terminal 1 in Lambert until September 2022. The airport estimates that 16 million passengers and visitors may view the exhibits on display.

Hartmann welcomes the opportunity to showcase his work at a busy international airport.

“With my experience in marketing, I knew that if I could get my business to the airport in an area with a lot of exposure, that’s a good thing,” Hartmann said. “Whether anything is ever sold there, it doesn’t matter, but it is there. It is the kind of cool thing where a lot of people get to see the artwork.”

An exhibition at the airport gives Hartmann an opportunity to display his artwork to an audience that might not otherwise see it, including travelers from all over the United States and dozens of other countries.

“Plus, some of my friends who travel and fly and didn’t know anything about the show, ‘This is Steve’s work,’ walked in and took a picture of him and texted me, which is great too,” Hartmann said.

The series is inspired by another local art exhibition, “The Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Present” at the St. Louis Museum of Art.

“For a while, I was drawing a lot of oil paintings and wanted to try something new, but I didn’t know what that was,” Hartmann said.

“It was great work and the great artists were making these prints which were a bit out of their style. For me, it was great and I thought ‘I can change my style too.’ I wanted to use some new techniques and bring back some old ones at the same time. An opportunity for me to summarize, whereas in the past my work was a little more representative.”

With titles like “Salt Water Taffy,” “Dirty Martini,” or “Cosmic Rainbow,” the artwork in the series leaves the viewer wondering if the object is in the painting.

“Some of the work in the airport at the moment, it might look a bit like something I call it, but I mean these things after I’m done with it, or maybe it was something I was thinking about the time I was doing or the general atmosphere I was in,” Hartmann said. in it.

“Sometimes the titles were just meant to have fun and to have some humor or whimsy.”

Hartmann was born and raised in Edwardsville, and many of the scenes he depicted in his artwork resemble those he painted under the tutelage of Dennis Detoy, his teacher at Edwardsville High School, and then again at Eastern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Degree in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design.

By 1992, Hartmann had put his brush aside in order for his computer to work as a graphic designer. He is currently the Creative Director of Werremeyer Creative in St. Louis.

In 2013, Hartmann’s love for painting began to emerge, and has not stopped since.

“Dennis Detoy was a huge influence on my going into the creative field,” Hartmann said. “I became a graphic designer after graduating from college, but after many years, I kind of re-lighted both sides of fine art. You choose a job as a graphic designer because you love creativity, but art has always been my first love.

“Sometimes you need to kindle that creative fire again, and picking up a paintbrush is what brought me back to creating fine art. It was a really fun side hustle.”

Hartmann’s passion for his hometown appears in more than the subjects of his paintings.

Hartmann regularly donates proceeds from the sale of his original paintings and ice prints, such as “The Wildey Theater” and “Once Upon a Town” to local nonprofits and causes, including the Edwardsville Children’s Museum, Edwardsville Center for the Arts, and Main Street Community Center.

“It is important to me to be involved and be proactive to help make our town great,” Hartmann said. “Art sales don’t make a lot of money, but I like to give some to the art center or the Children’s Museum. Whatever comes next, I’m all for it.”

For more information about Hartman and his artwork, visit https://stevehartman.art.com

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