About Steve Slimm

Short Biography (March 2014) 


Contemporary Cornish artist Steve Slimm

Steve has been painting and exhibiting in Cornwall, UK since 1979. Essentially self-taught, he has developed his art along very personal lines that both absorb and transcend tradition. He has become recognized as a noteworthy contemporary Cornish landscape expressionist painter, especially for his use of light. For this reason he is featured in national art foundation courses in the UK.  His original artwork can now be found in countless private collections in Cornwall, the UK and worldwide.

In 1953 Steve Slimm was born in the Black Country town of Netherton - the son of a hydraulic engineer and a dedicated creative mother. Following a move to the Cotswolds, aged ten, Steve attended Cheltenham Grammar School from 1964-69. Although accomplished in several academic subjects, his passion was always art and music. In 1970 the family moved to Cornwall, and before many years Steve became involved in painting and eventually exhibiting in St. Ives (from 1980). 

Steve's first influence in Cornwall was no doubt John Miller, whose classes he attended for a while. John's gentle encouragement and belief in the young acolyte's vision gave Steve the impetus to continue pursuing his dream. Within a few years his work was being collected by tourists and local art-lovers for its loose descriptive flow of colour and form. But his primary influence, by his own admission, has to be J.M.W. Turner, whose work Steve studied almost obsessively for the first decade of his career. 

Another major influence on Steve's life has to be the fact that his parents raised him from a tender age as a Jehovah's Witness. Although leaving the movement in his early forties, a significant factor of his visionary nature would certainly relate to this religious upbringing. The thrust of his work has increasingly moved toward a combination of the ethereal with the apocalyptic - as borne out in many of the titles of his pieces. 

Due to his early religious convictions, Steve did not pursue education beyond O-level, and has remained hesitant to join any of the usual art societies, which might traditionally support and nurture an aspiring creative. Although this provided somewhat of a stumbling block to his early career, he now proudly wears the badge of a sole artisan. 

Despite a biting recession from 2008,his artwork has become increasingly sought after by discerning collectors who are willing to peer below the surface. He recalls that: "one lady once drove forty miles to meet me - just to tell him how she sees something different every day in the piece of mine she owns. For me, that's an honour and a privilege. It also says the art is working. I believe the art we surround ourselves with is primarily a reflection of who we believe ourselves to be. If people are seeing something different in my work each day, it means they are willing to look closer at themselves too. That's always a good thing. To me, every soul is a work of art." 


This is what Steve says about his work:

“The urge to keep painting is still a mystery to me, even after three decades or more. I easily enthuse over music-making, writing, coaching, etc - but as regards painting, all I can say is – I’m just driven. There's something essential that defies containment, and absolutely requires expression - visual expression. Maybe it has to do with where I live - in the ancient land of Cornwall, at the South West tip of England, a land shrouded in mystery and magic, whose origins are lost in obscure legend.

I've never wished to depict, or even allude to any of those mythological Celtic giants, ancient Phoenician travelers, or the legendary King Arthur and his revered companions. Rather, for me – it’s always been the land - just the land, and me. This mystery is enough in itself.

“I and the land are One” becomes for me more than just a statement from mythology, more than a pleasing abstract idea. My drive strives to echo: “See this truth - see the energy of this sacred and hallowed land, as depicted in the simple flow of paint - and know yourself just a little more! Because in the end that's all there is – the pure bright energy of Existence.”