Friday, November 4, 2016

Mr. Leon - D Day Veteran.

"Mr. Leon - D Day Veteran. My Neighbor Series" fabriano soft press/cretacolor sepia

Mr. Leon is Carson's oldest resident. He is 101 years old from Puerto Rico. In the middle of our first session I learned he is a D Day Veteran. It was a pretty cathartic moment. With his permanently diminishing physical strength when making each word is a deliberate task that requires massive concentration of precious energy, he'd say once and again: "I was in a D Day". At this moment his entire demeanor would change as if he heard the hell of incoming fire. His features would inexplicably take a forceful expression of a complete determination. 

With his permanently diminishing physical strength when making each word is a deliberate task that requires massive concentration of precious energy, he'd say once and again: "I was in a D Day". At this moment his entire demeanor would change as if he heard the hell of incoming fire. His features would inexplicably take a forceful expression of a complete determination.

That were moments of pure Beauty. Inside his feeble body the same Spirit would wake that led him out of the landing craft and through the water and onto the sand of Omaha. "There was German fire coming down on us from the top on the right. Than the guys who were there before us got on'em from the side…they had to turn their fire away from us and on them, soon they were shooting no more. That’s why I made it through the water…that’s why I lived. Someone died so I lived.

Friday, July 15, 2016

WELLS FARGO BANK Issues a Press Release about Participation in Love My Neighbor Project

Subject: Celebrating diversity and unity through art in Carson Calif.
For Immediate Release
Wells Fargo Demonstrates SupporT For Local Artist And His Message of Unity
Artist Alexey Steele’s “My Neighbors: Capturing the Soul of America’s Diverse City”
On Display at Wells Fargo’s Carson Town Center Bank and Carson Park Building
CARSON, CALIF., July 28, 2016 – Southern California artist Alexey Steele will display two works from his My Neighbors series, a passionate portrayal of select residents from the city of Carson, at the Wells Fargo Carson Town Center Branch located at 506 W. Torrance Blvd. through August 22.
Steele’s studio is located in the heart of Carson, and he is a proponent of the transformative nature of art. He also believes that the answer to many of the difficult issues currently facing society is to get to know and love one’s neighbor, as inspired by the cherished phrase “love thy neighbor.” With his My Neighbors series, which currently totals five portraits of ordinary, everyday people, he spotlights community members who represent the strength and soul of Carson in an effort to inspire social change. The artist hopes that his My Neighbors series will also encourage visitors to see their own neighbors from a new perspective and take the message of love for one’s neighbor back to their own streets.
“I cannot think of a better message to spread in the wake of the current happenings in our country,” said David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo lead region president for Greater Los Angeles. “In times of tragedy, it is important to come together and focus on the things that unite us. At Wells Fargo that includes respect for every individual, a spirit of community, and a focus on caring deeply for one another. I believe those values are now more important than ever, and that is exactly what we are hoping to demonstrate with this art exhibit.”
“Every street and every neighborhood has their own widely loved neighbors, and I want everyone to look around and say ‘Love MY neighbor!’ just as I do,” notes Steele. With the My Neighbors series, I have focused on individuals who are overlooked as the true heroes of our society, as these special people form the bedrock of the community and provide something real and solid to hold onto during our troubled times,” he adds.
Steele was awarded a grant by The City of Carson Cultural Arts Commission for 2015-16 to develop the My Neighbors series. In this inaugural collaboration between the City and an artist, Steele showcases three residents of the city of Carson, each special in their own right. Sharing in the neighborly spirit of diversity, Wells Fargo joined this important socially engaged artist–city–community collaboration as an exhibition partner. While two paintings from the series will be on view at the bank branch, three additional works will be displayed concurrently at the Carson Park Building.
With this body of work, Steele is following in the footsteps of his late father, the noted Ukrainian artist Leonid Steele. A hallmark of Leonid Steele's oeuvre was to travel to remote villages of the Ukraine to capture the expression of ordinary people in paint and to present the finished works to the very muses themselves. The younger Steele's homage to his father's work intends to build upon the legacy of shared strength, as a counterpoint to troublesome events.
Steele’s art is traditionally shown in galleries and museums, but this time the artist is presenting his new works in settings that he shares with his fellow community members to ensure the widest engagement of local residents in this city public art program.  Alexey Steele is represented by American Legacy Fine Arts, a private art gallery in Pasadena, Calif.
Wells Fargo has a long history of supporting diversity and inclusion, and the company’s Vision and Values states “The spirit of diversity and inclusion lives in our hearts and minds and most importantly in our behaviors – the way we interact with each other and conduct our business.” Additionally, Wells Fargo was ranked #12 on Diversity Inc.'s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list for 2016.
*Digital images of artwork in the exhibition are available upon request.*
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,800 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.
About American Legacy Fine Arts, LLC
American Legacy Fine Arts ( was founded by art industry veteran Elaine Adams to assist collectors in their acquisitions of traditional fine art by today’s premier American artists.  Built on the philosophy that artists should be encouraged to exercise artistic freedom, ALFA provides art enthusiasts with the opportunity to expand their collections with exceptional works that have truly inspired the artists.  Open by appointment Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., ALFA is located in a tranquil neighborhood of Pasadena, Calif., near the world-famous Rose Bowl Stadium. Contact the gallery at (626) 577-7733 or email at for the gallery address.
Media Contacts:
Wells Fargo:
Ann Penn
Olga Vlasova

Thursday, July 7, 2016

WELLS FARGO BANK Participates in The Project as Exhibiting Partner

I am exceptionally happy to announce the participation of the

Wells Fargo Bank

in my collaboration with the city of Carson on the

"Love My Neighbor"
 public ART project

 Just like it was for my Dad, the goal here is
to takes ART directly to people
to make it a tool of social change

If you are in the area come for the reception at Wells Fargo Carson Town Center store that will showcase two works of

"My  Neighbors" Series

in ART we trust!

Monday, July 4, 2016

"MY NEIGHBOR SERIES" Unveiling at Carson Park June 30, 2016

The Love My Neighbor project consists of two main elements:

  • Capturing the emphatically humanistic expression of the special neighbors in the community that through the innate individual qualities become natural magnets for others, carry wide respect and form the community's bedrock. The very special ordinary people all around us you cannot help, but love. "My Neighbor Series" is dedicated to this goal and aimed at describing the iconic human presence that turn neighborhoods into communities. 
  • The second key element of the project is making the images of "My Neighbors Series" and carrying the "Love My Neighbor" message available and accessible free of charge directly to a community. 

On June 30 we had a great unveiling of "My Neighbor Series" at the fantastic Carson Park Building. It took quite a bit of work designing, fabricating and installing its own hanging and lighting systems. The result surely worth it though as the venue is a perfect Public Art space.

in ART we trust!

Carson Park Building
21411 Orrick Ave, Carson, Ca 90745

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"MY NEIGHBORS: Capturing the Soul of America's Diverse City" 2016

 "Ricky of Carson" oil on canvas 36" x 24"


"Ricky" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

Ricardo Echevarria, “Ricky” is my  next door neighbor. His indoor soccer field is directly next to my studio. Ricky is a survivor of a horrendous car crash that left him in a coma for months and his face disfigured.  After many months of reconstructive surgeries and recovery, he was left unrecognizable even to his neighbors.  To hide from prying  eyes, he covered himself in tattoos that would grab all the attention. Ricky healed fully, his face is now truly beautiful  and he regrets his tattoo decision. Now, he gracefully shares with others the gratitude for the miracle of his recovery. He is supporting the local children’s soccer team and has built and runs a fully-regulated professional indoor soccer rink for the kids and adults. Ricky carries a truly noble and refined look of victory over unimaginable suffering and adversity. A local hero that every neighborhood should have.

"Mrs. O'Neal" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

As one of Carson’s founders, Marry Ann O'Neal, is a true icon of the Carson community.  A great-granddaughter of slaves who grew up on a farm in Arkansas, this 90-year-young woman leads her life by example. She believes in serving others before self and to help a neighbor in need. Mrs. O’Neal is an inspiring, vibrant and kind human being, the kind that binds the world together. A rare soul, but one that still exists in every community.

 "Ukulele Player" oil on canvas 48" x 60"



"Uncle Lincoln" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

Uncle Lincoln has been my good friend and neighbor for ten years.
He is a native Hawai'i ukulele master who, along with his wife Auntie Sissy, a hula dance teacher, is deeply involved with preserving and revitalizing the Hawaiian culture and its way of life. "Ukulele Player" is an emotionally-charged representation of a truthful and authentic dedication to one’s cultural heritage.

 in ART we trust!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Working on "MY NEIGHBOR SERIES" - The Truth Factor and the Power of Image

One of the defining characteristics of the "My Neighbor Series" is the extensive live work with the remarkable individuals that inspire the work.

As the objective of the project is a capture of the deeply specific and personal expression within the unique character, the live interaction and study I consider a critical ingredient. "Love" is an extraordinarily difficult quality to convey and, even more so, to elicit.

Conveying the message of "Love My Neighbor" credibly requires unquestionable empathy on the part of the viewer and no one shall underestimate how hard it is to earn it in today's jaded and betrayed world.

We do not trust anyone with a slightest hint of authority and rightly so. We know empirically and for a fact that politicians of any self-professed stripe lie, selling us on themselves for a vote. Those, who don't are the vast exception to a rule. We know that corporations lie selling us something that we don't need or what will likely harm us for our own buck. Those, who don't are the vast exception to the rule. We know that anything that "sounds nice" is more often than not is a blatant, conscious and deliberate trap. Our instinct of self-preservation tells us not to take it. Society had lost faith in the institutions of society. Everything we were supposed to believe in, we now can't. Problem is that the organized society in its key components - political and economic - is a product of faith. Without faith there is no organized society. Religion used to take care of that and we know where that went. There is only one thing today outside our immediate family boundary that I see as worthy and demanding of our undisputed and unquestionable faith - it is a Love of Our Worthy Neighbor.

Love of one's neighbor today, whomever that neighbor happen to be and of whatever ethnic or cultural background, is the only hard land we can crawl on in midst of the societal deluge that is upon us.

Conveying such Love credibly and emphatically is a tall order. It is opposite to both the objective coolness and the ironic smirk that most of contemporary art is preoccupied with, it is also opposite to any trace of a sugarcoated sentimentalism that is always prevalent. That is were very specific personal and professional qualities are needed to come together in the act of eternal fusion called ART.

We can and shall envision, address and will-to-life the best in people that really is there. We can help overcome fear, anxiety and separation not by pretending it does not exist but by showing with an undeniable certainty that the alternative does exist. That is what the immense power of ART can do and that is its core Social Function.

in ART we trust!