Artistic Background, Career, and Current Interests

Steven began his study of photography while at high school in Orange, California, having a particular interest in photographic special effects, manipulated imagery, unusual film stocks, and creating multi-projector slide shows with music. He also pursued video production and film animation.

He continued his study of photography, film animation and motion picture special effects while at UC Santa Barbara. Using a 35mm optical printer, an animation stand and a 16mm motion picture optical printer, various techniques were explored to further grow in this field. James Turrell and John Haugse were Steven's key mentors there.

Following UCSB, Steven worked for a company in Orange County which had just developed a state-of-the-art 35mm VistaVision optical printer camera system. In 1980 he began doing photography and special effects animation for a company in San Diego which was producing large 30 projector multi-image slide shows.

Steven struck out on his own in 1983 and founded Odyssey Visual Design, the first San Diego company to produce computer animation. Clients included Coca Cola, General Dynamics, Union Oil, Southwestern Cable, Metrocast, Honda, and TV stations all over the country.

In 1986 Steven produced the world's first computer animation film festival. A second show was exhibited in 1987, both being presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. In 1988 nation-wide distribution was arranged with Landmark Theatres, showcasing the best of those films. The purpose was to raise public awareness of computer animation as an art form.

In 1988 Steven produced the world's first home entertainment video of computer animation, called "State of the Art of Computer Animation". He then decided to focus the company solely on producing these videos and theatrical presentations of computer animation. Pacific Arts Video distributed this first product on VHS and Image Entertainment distributed the Laser Discs, which were sold around the world. The video won the "Best Video Art" award from the American Film Institute at their American Video Conference Awards Show in November of 1988.

By 1990, the company fully transitioned from a CGI service business to a Home Video content creator, and Steven renamed the company Odyssey Productions.

In 1990 Steven conceived and produced the first in a series of videos titled The Mind's Eye, a co-production between Odyssey and Miramar Productions. These videos featured the best computer animation from around the globe with original scores created by notable music artists James Reynolds, Jan Hammer, Thomas Dolby and Kerry Livgren. The second video in this series, "Beyond The Mind's Eye," reached #8 on Billboard Magazine's home video sales chart in the fall of 1992, being qualified "Multi-Platinum" by the RIAA. The fourth video in the series, "Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye," was distributed by Sony Music. Among the four Mind's Eye videos that were produced, total sales exceeded two million units. The artists received massive media exposure and also were paid royalties, based upon half the income. Several of the Mind's Eye video clips can be viewed here.

Developing innovative new ways to showcase the talents of the world's best computer animation artists was the ongoing focus of the business. A key goal was to bring these hidden treasures to light via consumer products, which would also provide a revenue stream for those artists. A total of 25 videos have been produced, being distributed by Miramar and Sony Music.

Meanwhile, Steven has continued with his love of photography. His thoughts:

I think I have always been drawn to cutting-edge imaginative imagery. I remember eagerly waiting each week to watch a PBS show that was devoted to new video art, featuring video synthesizers and other analog video tools. Of course, laser light shows were a big thrill to me as a teenager also. My favorite film while growing up was "2001 - A Space Odyssey", which had a lasting impact and inspiration upon my life and career. At UC Santa Barbara my key mentors were James Turrell, a pioneer in the "Light and Space" art movement, and John Haugse, a prominent animation artist and painter. A few photographers whose work has been very inspirational to me are Alfred Stieglitz, Eric Meola, Pete Turner and Richard Avedon. I would say that combining unique and innovative CGI together with original music has been the essence of my video art. Now coming full circle, I have returned to photography, which is a continuing source of excitement and artistic fulfillment for me.

Since 2004 Steven has been producing large international exhibitions of contemporary photography and digital art, titled the Art of Photography Show and the Art of Digital Show. The exhibitions have been attended by tens of thousands of people, coming from all over the world. A total of 106,000 images have been submitted to the competitions from 85 countries, judged by these highly acclaimed museum curators:

  • Arthur Ollman - Founding Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Hugh Davies - Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
  • Neal Benezra - Director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Charlotte Cotton - Curator in Residence at the International Center of Photography
  • Julian Cox - Curator of Photography and Chief Curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • Anne Lyden - International Photography Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland
  • Natasha Egan - Curator and Executive Director at the Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Tim Wride - Curator of Photography at the Norton Museum of Art
  • Carol McCusker, Curator of Photography at the Harn Museum of Art
  • Julia Dolan - Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum
  • All of these exhibitions have provided value to artists at every turn, from first-rate viewing in the judging process to publication opportunities, well-attended events and lectures, photo industry connections and monetary rewards.

    In 2014 Steven was the Curator of the exhibition Contemporary Landscape Photography: An International Perspective at the Oceanside Museum of Art. The exhibition featured 40 images that highlight our integral connection to our surrounding environment and the changing aspects of our landscape. With images ranging from urban settings to idyllic naturescapes, this exhibit presented a diverse selection of engaging scenes from around the world.

    Steven is the Founder of PhotoCulture, showcasing and selling world class contemporary photography from around the world, providing unsurpassed value, connections and recognition for the artists.

    Currently, Steven leads a team who are developing Aarize.com, a platform for social impact influencers and creatives to engage with their audience in a fresh way, to provide significant revenue for the non-profit charity of their choice, and to generate consistent income. The mission and focus is: "Doing Well by Doing Good."