– The Greenpoint Artist –
(Photo & Photo Credit/Steve Wasterval)
Steve Wasterval is an artist based out of Greenpoint, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He truly loves his neighborhood, so much in fact that he’d started to paint mini landscapes of the area and hide them for locals and tourists to find. Not only is this a brilliant marketing strategy, but a significant gesture from someone who's full-sized paintings sell for up to $3,000.
I have caught up with Steve to find out more about the brilliant artist behind the exciting weekly scavenger hunts, who’s been bringing so much joy with his
social media clues and the joy the paintings bring to finders.
Q. Please introduce yourself
My name is Steve, I’m an artist. I love New York and paint my neighborhood Greenpoint, Brooklyn exclusively for years now.
Q. How did you first discover the art of painting?
I was drawing and painting before I can remember...
Q. Do you remember your first painting?
I don’t remember it, but it must have been when I was 2.
Q. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
The mini’s really are my favorite “piece” - even though there’s lots of them. They’re all similar in that they are a series and my favorite because of how much fun they are for the neighborhood.
Q. Do you find that New York’s art scene inspires or influences your art?
Graffiti and street art, yeah. I like modern and abstract painting, it’s just not an influence on what I’m doing, but I would say I am inspired by it. Too much good stuff to name, everything I see – I love it all.
Q. What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for?
“Don’t Change” - A section painting of the New York skyline with a water tower, some tags, and the main feature: a “don;t change” written in ink markers in the center. I paint over, or “buff”, it out every week or so. And then I write “Don’t Change” on it again, and again, and again… I ‘ve been doing it for years, I’ll never sell it, and it’s going to be a living, lifetime piece.
Q. I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about the origin of your ‘scavenger hunt’ project?
It was a culmination of a few ideas: 4 years ago I was looking for more ways to connect with other locals who love the neighborhood as much as I do (and naturally would love my art too!). I also had always been thinking of ways to do my own version of street art somehow, but in my own medium and style and I finally remembered these Art Supply Stores, point of purchase, novelty, traditional (gessoed and stretched on wood frame), fine art canvases! I know that’s confusing, but they are unusual so that’s the best description I can give of them other than their size, which is 2”x1.5”. I’ve only ever seen them as gag gifts or toys to toddlers or students silly enough to aspire to be artists, and never used for “real” art. So the size and lack of seriousness was perfect! Finally, announcing or asking to “connect” or “meetup” is alright, but definitely not as fun as creating connections. So it had to be fun, something people wanted to do because they loved it, instead of an announcement, call to action or request to connect.
Q. What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Not sure if it counts as advice, but the most helpful, significant memory I have, when I think about how I made it this long, making art, was when an uncle-like, family friend saw some of my drawings when I must have been no more than 11, and he said “Wow Steve!! These are amazing! You are a great artist! Can I buy one? Thanks, but I can’t just take it, it’s valuable, here!” and despite my protests, he paid me. I don’t remember how much, and it doesn’t matter. I remember because I believed him. Advice is what to do, this was better, he showed me art had value. Things I made, were valuable!
Q. What are your thoughts about art moving more into Crypto Art and JPEG’s (although JPEG’s has been around longer)?
I’m into it. If anyone is serious about trying to make a living as an artist, they ought to do themselves the favor of trying anything and everything they can and that is available. Twenty years ago, I’d hate to imagine myself, or anyone, telling any artist NOT to use social media.
Q. What advice would you give someone who would like to become an artist today?
Well, it’s not advice, ;) but I’d have to look at your art, and if I see something in it, I’ll let you know how great you are and validate it’s value.
Q. Do you have any art shows/events coming up?
Mini-painting hunts every weekend!
You can’t buy or commission these mini-masterpieces. You have to find one (and that means you probably have to live in Greenpoint to have a fighting chance).
More about Wasterval
Learn more about Wasterval’s and his art at Steve’s neighborhood.
Click here to become Steve’s e-neighbor and join the hunt.
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