Skip to main content

Style Magazine

Myron Stephens

Apr 29, 2014 12:35PM ● By Style

Photos of Myron by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Myron Stephens, award-winning artist and major force in Granite Bay High School’s art department, brings the real to surreal with the mind-bending technique of trompe l’oeil (trick the eye) in his paintings.

AB: Your style is incredibly unique. How did you develop such a stylized and personal approach to realism? 

MS: My current Alter Piece series (showing through June 27 at the Roseville Chamber of Commerce) is very different from work I did as little as five years ago. When you have a story you want to tell, 12 or 15 paintings later you’re ready to tell another story [and] you use new approaches to do it. After focusing on elements I enjoyed the most in a previous series and applying it to the next, my work has evolved.

AB: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

MS: I actually started out wanting to be a teacher, because both of my parents were teachers and loved their jobs. In college, I realized that I might not be the most talented artist, but I was willing to push myself to learn new techniques, and I had the discipline it takes to get better. 

AB: Your work has received many awards. Is there one you’re most proud of?

MS: When I received an award for a painting of mine on display in the Haggin Museum, it felt like a big step in my career. As a result, it’s a painting I don’t think I’ll ever let go of. However, when my students win awards, get into a gallery, or sell a painting, it makes me feel like I’m doing what I originally set out to do…and that’s pretty cool. 

AB: Who is your biggest inspiration?

MS: Michelle, my wife. She is in the studio with me every day, so I’m able to stay longer and paint more, and as a result, create more paintings. It’s perfect because we are together, working and talking about new ideas for future paintings. Michelle also takes care of emails to galleries, updating spreadsheets and the website, entering competitions, and sending out gallery opening announcements, etc. She is the reason I paint as much as I do.

AB: Have you ever left a piece of work unfinished?

MS: All of my paintings start out with great intentions and aspirations of becoming “masterpieces,” but some of them make it very clear to me that they’re going to be a battle not worth fighting. With these paintings, they go through several different phases: I put them on a different easel for “troubled paintings,” then they get put in “the rack,” which is a section of the studio where the other troubled paintings go, and finally they’re taken to the shop where they’re sanded and primed again for a second chance.

AB: As a teacher, what do you feel is the most valuable lesson you’ve passed along to your students?

MS: Teaching my students techniques that enable them to express themselves where they can be heard is the most important thing. It gives them an outlet, which many students feel they don’t really have. A close second would be showing them how to avoid a lot of the mistakes in art making that would normally take years by trial and error. Simply put, I want to give students the ability to succeed in the art world, in the shortest amount of time possible, so they can get on with making their masterpiece.

For more information, visit