Christopher Bowen interviews Rebecca Steele!


The 1920’s and 30’s are two very different eras that depict themselves well in your work.  I find myself going from glamorous, inspiring and lively moods to very moody, ,modest, and misunderstood ones.  A purer example of this may be in two of your 2007 acrylic pieces, American Woman and Lonely Heart.  It seems like almost the same picture or woman, but extravagantly different.  How would you describe the relative difference in these two eras and decades in relation to your art?


These two pieces in particular were done during a great, productive, inspired and explorative period in my art life.  I had recently become acquainted with a great group of Akron artists, their encouragement and constructive criticism gave me the courage to play around with my pallet and subject matter.  I soon found that women from different eras could convey certain feelings.  American Woman, is more from the 40’s era.  She has a jubilant, accomplished feel about her.  Lonely Heart, on the other hand is maybe a 20 eras gal and there is a longing and desperate feeling depicted in this piece.  In more recent pieces, I have depicted the 30’s era with the use of a little girl, conveying a sense of abandonment and vulnerability or in some pieces, determination to not only overcome difficult times, but to be a rescuer or defender of the vulnerable.


As both of us are Clevelanders, I”ve been dying to ask what do you think is the biggest impact on your views the rustbelt and city has brought you, good or bad?


I realize what an impact growing up here has had on my subject matter and style, I’m just not sure how to explain to others, the appeal that urban neglect and industry wasteland has to me.  Is it sympathy for the landscape?  Do I feel sorry for the empty buildings themselves, as if they have souls and emotions?  They certainly seem to have faces.  Maybe that is what appeals to me.



I’ve seen a lot of reports through media, as well as through my culinary training and author readings held here that many believe a revival of the midwest and rustbelt is quickly underway. How would you describe this towards art?


Part of me believes Art is the reason for the revival of the Rustbelt areas.  I felt it back in 2007 upon meeting my new artist friends, something good was happening here.  The past five years have proven to be exciting for the art scene in Akron and Cleveland, with several notable galleries not only opening, but maintaining status as cultural check points for visitors to this area.


Thanks for your time, Rebecca.  Any last thoughts or ideas you’d like to share to readers concerning your artwork?


It is difficult for me to describe the thought process and reasoning behind some of my paintings. If it were easy for me to express my feelings or to make a point with words, I would not be a painter. I hope those who see my work, would be able to relate to each piece in his or her own way.  If explanations are necessary, I feel I have failed.

Published by lenavanelslander

Lena Vanelslander swam many waters. History, Comparative Culture Analysis, Languages, Mythology, Literature, Poetry, too many to sum up. After a life of tribulations the turning point came in her mid twenties: she started to write actively poetry in English. Her melancholic and darkminded nature colour her poems to an individual signature in both time and space. Poems got published in the Stray Branch, Savage Manners, the Delinquent and The Sylvan Echo. Her first chapbook ‘Ma Chanson de Rien du Tout’ has been released in September this year. Her first book of poetry, written with Marilyn Campiz, Quills of Fire, will appear in November 2009. Currently she edits writers' profiles for and

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: